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An interesting day

in the Life of

a Mongolian Gerbil

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How Mongolian Gerbils live their Daily Lives
By: Gerald Gerbil

First of all, let me tell you that we gerbils are an
impulsive race, like most other rodents, and so there is
really no "typical" day in our lives. But there are several
rituals that we usually perform every day, whenever we
please, so I will tell you about those.

Here we go, in no real order...

Nose Rub Howdy

When we gerbils have been away for a while, say out to play
with Big One Who Has Food or up through the tubes or off for
a nap, we usually touch noses with all the other gerbils
when we get back to the group, to make sure that they know
it is us and we know it is them.


We like to sleep in short naps. We may get up all together
in the day or evening and have a snack, groom each other,
then go back to sleep in a big snuggly pile. Or, we may get
up one at a time for a little food and fun and some wheelie
exercise. Like I said, we do what feels right at the time.
It seems to me, though, that most of us prefer to be most
active in the early hours of the night, probably because our
wild ancestors were safer from (shudder!) predators then.


We like to lick. We lick each other when we do our grooming
ritual, but we also lick the outside of our water bottles
and the cage walls, especially when we are thirsty. I think
we do that because that is how our wild relatives get some
of their water from dewdrops forming on the plants in the
dry places where they live. So we do it too, besides, it's

Taking a Sand Bath

Over in the corner of our home is a bed of great clean sand.
We gerbils go over and have a roll any time we want. A good
sand bath helps to make my coat nice and clean and helps me
not get too hot or too cold.

Winking and Purring

When I have some yummy food to eat, I like to wink one eye.
It means that I am happy. And if I am really happy, I also
purr. I don't make a lot of noise when I purr like a scary
cat does, but you can feel it if you hold me in your hand.
Big One Who Has Food said that our relatives the rats do
something like that too.

Shaking Tails and Thumping

When we are shy or nervous we often shake our tails. I don't
know why exactly, but it does make me feel calmer when I do
it. Maybe wild gerbils do it to distract an enemy or

If a thing that looks dangerous comes around or something
moves fast and I don't know what it is, I will thump my back
legs to warn all the other gerbils. Then we all run into our
holes and hide. Sometimes Big One Who Has Food makes that
sound and we all start thumping too. Big One Who Has Food
seems to like that. I wonder if he is afraid too.

Gnawing on Stuff

All gerbils love to gnaw. I just have to gnaw, I can't help
it. I see a piece of wood or some hay or even my exercise
wheel and I can't resist. It makes my teeth feel better when
I gnaw too. I spend a lot of my time gnawing up nice wood
and hay and stuff and making my nest more cozy. If the
weather gets cold in our home we'll have lots of warm
nesting material to snuggle down in.

Digging a Burrow

Big One Who Has Food gave us lots of tubes and things to run
through, but my favorite part is the big pile of stuff on
the ground in our home. I can dig and tunnel and make myself
secret hideouts all day if I want to. And I want too. So do
the other gerbils.

Besides all this, we also court and have babies and take
care of them, and of course we eat and eat, but that will
have to be another story. Bye for now, I have to go eat
some delicious green stuff.

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