On average, gerbils tend to live between 2-4 years of age. However, this number can vary greatly depending on several different factors, such as breed, family history, and daily care that they're given.
As a gerbil owner, it makes sense that you'd want to know the lifespan of your pet. Being aware of the average age of a gerbil allows you to make informed decisions about your gerbil such as what medical care should be given and how to deal with certain problems that may arise.
Of course, you'll want your gerbil to live for as long as possible. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways that you can help your gerbil live an extremely long and happy life. In this post we will discuss the most important methods and facts that all gerbil owners should be aware of.
How Long Can A Gerbil Live?
This is a great question, and it can really only be answered by looking at gerbils that lived to quite an old age. While most gerbils end up living around 3 years, there have been some gerbils that have blown this number out of the water. Some captive gerbils have lived to be between 8 and 10 years old!
What is clear, though, is that gerbils that are kept as pets will almost always live longer than wild gerbils that are left to care for themselves. This is due to a consistent food supply, lack of predators, lack of disease, and a consistent, safe climate. All of these factors come together to drastically increase the average lifespan of a gerbil in captivity.
Now, it is hard to determine exactly what makes gerbils live for 2-3x their expected lifespans. More than likely it's a combination of proper care, great genetics, and a decent amount of luck. Providing proper care is entirely in the hands of a gerbil owner, and good genetics can be produced to an extent. Luck is luck, however. So, there are a few things that a gerbil owner can do to drastically increase the chance of their gerbil living for a very long time.
Why Do Some Gerbils Live So Long?
As stated, there's quite a bit of complex reasoning behind why some gerbils live for a much longer time than other gerbils. However, it ultimately comes down to excellent care and excellent genetics. Both of these factors can be controlled in one way or another.
If you're in possession of a "healthy" gerbil -- that is, a gerbil that comes from a line of gerbils that aren't genetically predisposed to conditions that shorten their lifespans, then there's a good chance that your gerbil will live past the average age. Good genetics will keep a gerbil safe from many issues that plague other gerbils and drastically reduce their lifespans.
Diet is another factor that drastically influences a gerbil's lifespan. If a gerbil has access to the exact foods that it needs to get all of its essential nutrients, then they're likely to live longer than other gerbils. They're able to supply their bodies with the nutrients that it needs, allowing themselves to grow stronger and better tackle any medical issues that may come their way.
On top of this, environment does play a big factor in the lifespan of a gerbil. When a gerbil's environment is comfortable, safe, and stress-free, it tends to lend itself positively to a better lifespan.
So, in the rare case that a gerbil lives well beyond its average life expectancy, there's a good chance that it's due to the combination of a good diet, a healthy family history, and an environment that nurtures and promotes good health.
How To Buy A Healthy Gerbil
One of the most effective ways to have a gerbil that lives for a long time is to get a gerbil that comes from a strong, healthy family. Genetics play a big role in the well-being of humans and animals alike, and it's well-documented that living creatures that come from healthy families tend to live longer and healthier lives.
So, how exactly do you go about acquiring a healthy gerbil in the first place? Essentially, this comes down to finding a reputable and experienced breeder. If you're just buying a gerbil from a pet store, there's not going to be any record kept of their predecessors' health. You'll need to purchase a gerbil from a breeder that keeps an extensive record of their gerbils' ailments and behaviors.
It isn't as simple as finding an experienced breeder, though. You'll also need to find a breeder that keeps a portion of their gerbils past their young pup years. Many ailments in gerbils only become known as they reach adulthood, so breeders that sell off all of their young pups will never know if they have a line of gerbils that's prone to developing issues.
Some of the most common issues that gerbils will develop as they age are heart failure, strokes, ovarian cysts, and scent gland tumors. These problems can arise in gerbils that come from a healthy line, but the chances of that happening would be significantly smaller.
Tips For Increasing Your Gerbil's Lifespan
Everybody wants to keep their beloved pet alive and healthy for as long as they possibly can. So, how would you go about increasing the lifespan of your gerbil? While there's not a sure-fire way to get your gerbil to live for 8-10 years, there are a few things that you can do to give them the best chance of doing so.
First of all, if you haven't purchased your gerbil already, buy one from a reputable breeder with a healthy and well-documented line. By purchasing a gerbil that comes from a family with a clean history, you're greatly reducing the chances of your gerbil contracting a disease or illness that could cut their life short.
Next up, once you have your healthy gerbil, you need to make sure that they're being treated right -- largely through their diet! Feed your gerbil a very healthy diet that meets all of their nutritional requirements so that they can grow and remain healthy. This is done with a combination of a solid pellet food, high-quality seed mixture, and assorted greens such as celery, broccoli, and cucumbers.
A gerbil's environment is also extremely important! You'd be surprised just how much having a clean and comfortable living space will increase the health of your gerbil. Create a cage for them that's big, comfortable, and very secure. Keep this cage in a place in your house that isn't totally secluded but is separated from much of the excitement of day-to-day life. Providing your gerbil with a friend or two is also a great way to increase their happiness and keep their stress levels down.