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Gerbils - male or female?

(12 Posts)
HexBramble Sat 10-Jan-15 16:25:37

I've spoken to 2 different pet shops. Picking up our pair of gerbils tomorrow (first time Carers for rodents so need advice).

One store said females are better together, but other store reckoned males.

All the gerbils are approx 7 weeks old.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 10-Jan-15 16:42:58

<<Disclaimer>> I've never kept gerbils but I'ved had mice and guinea-pigs , both male and females.

Male mice smell and ours were squabbly.
Females much more harmonious and sweeter (in every sense)

Male guinea pairs take careful handling, mainly giving them space and allowing them to establish their pecking orders (we had 2 brothers then 1 brother + a piglet boar)

Male rats I'm reliably informed are calmer.

Main thing I's worry about with rodenty types is the mis-sexing or getting an already pg female.

I's probably go for females over males (though if there's any squabbling in our Pig Family, I can guarentee it'll be my little sow grin. We have a neutered boar and 2 non-related sows. Usually fine but GP5 can be a Stroppy Little Madam ! )

youbethemummylion Sat 10-Jan-15 16:46:36

I don't know which is better but we have 2 male gerbils (they are brothers) they are absolutely adorable together they sleep curled up together and often sunbathe with one using the other as a pillow. We have had no issues with fights or bullying or anything.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 10-Jan-15 17:13:22

Forgot to add... enjoy the Fur Babies when you get them grin

We used to give the mice loo roll tubes to play with and shred. And gerbils will hold sunflower seeds in their tiny paws and nibble them open --glares at the pigs with their non-holding, but thankfully non-digging paws

Theas18 Sat 10-Jan-15 17:19:43

We have females. Totally cute but not what if call cuddly. One we can handle the other not really. I might not be trying often enough though. They squabble a bit but it's better since we got the bigger gerbilarium- but they might just be growing out of being teenagers!

Friend had males from a year old not babies and they were tamer but maybe just had been tamed better ? One died and she's now looking at introducing a pair of baby brothers for him. Apparently easier to pair up males later in life like this than females - I dunno.

HexBramble Sat 10-Jan-15 18:34:47

Thanks everyone.
I think I'll give the male pairs a go.
I was sooooooo taken by the rats in the store. Talk about love at first sight! But this will be DD's first 'pet' (9 tomorrow) and I want her to be used to looking after a pet that's more independent before embarking on a more hands on experience.

Am quite excited!

PixieofCatan Sat 10-Jan-15 21:16:33

Good luck with your DDs new friends Hex smile Has your DD got ideas for names for them yet?

Rats are gorgeous aren't they? If you ever end up with them do go via a family friendly breeder, well worth it, our girls are to die for smile I'm already booked in for another girl from my breeder in the summer grin

Micah Sat 10-Jan-15 21:22:33

I've had both males and females, it makes no difference smile

Neither smell (they're desert rats, so kidneys conserve urine. Very little pee = very little smell). No noticeable difference in handling etc- that's more about whether they've been handled early. Pairs bond easily regardless of sex.

Gerbils make great pets, enjoy! Just make sure you have a proper gerbilarium so the can make a nice deep burrow, they love to dig!

girliefriend Sat 10-Jan-15 21:27:39

I love gerbils, I had two boys together when I was younger and they did fight, I would think girls would get on better but that is based on one experience!!

We currently have one female gerbil and she is very sweet, happy to be handled and will take food from dds hand smile

They love cardboard tubes to explore and chew up.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 11-Jan-15 10:22:58

Good Luck today, maybe your gerbils will just give you The Look and you won't have any choice. They'll pick you .

HexBramble Sun 11-Jan-15 22:20:27

Aaaahhhhhh where is the MN heart emoticon?
You're right 70isa, they picked us. One sooty coloured and the other, a sandy coloured one. The gerbilarium was all set and it was fab seeing them tentatively pad about, almost greeting one another again, nose to nose, albeit briefly.

Following the advice of the pet shop owner, we have left them to settle in, so no handling them until tomorrow. We've checked in on them and by god! They are BUSY!!! They have demolished the substrate and totally re arranged everything. They've dug and thrown loads and loads of the shavings outside the bars. It was hilarious observing them - it was like a comedy scene with shavings being flung in all directions.

I'm a little concerned for one of the little chaps - he's scrabbling constantly at the plastic base, and despite having loads of shavings to tunnel through (prob too much shavings judging by how much is being chucked out) he's in the same old place, scrabbling at the plastic. Is this normal?

No names either! DD has carte Blanche over this but cannot find names she is happy with.

So, all in all, an amusing and extremely messy start to our rodent parenthood. They are gorgeous little chaps though and I can't wait for tomorrow night where we get hands on.

Any tips for this?

girliefriend Mon 12-Jan-15 11:23:03

Aww they sound really sweet smile

I have always had gerbils in tanks to so avoided the shavings over the floor grin they love to dig and chew so keep them busy with lots of loo roll tubes and small boxes.

Handling I would say to start with little and often, we started with current gerbil being allowed to run around on the sofa with dd sat there iyswim, meant that gerbil got chance to explore and get used to all the different smells. They need close supervision though as can be fast!!

Have you got them an exercise ball as well? Current gerbil likes her ball but our old one never worked out what it was all about.

Names - Salt and Pepper? Sooty and Sweep? Tom and Jerry?

Dd has managed to give our Gerbils very random names, we have had a Jellybean and a Moonlight Rose hmm

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