Unfortunately, once a pet gerbil has reached adulthood then it’s extraordinarily difficult to accurately determine how old it is. These animals reach adulthood at about three or four months, at which point they will be adult-sized and shaped, with a full body of fur and with the less-rounded heads that adults generally possess.
It can be tricky to tell the age of a young gerbil, but it’s an important skill to learn if you’re intending on purchasing the pair from a shop. This is because you’ll want to purchase gerbils that are old enough to be safely and naturally separated from their mother - the earliest age at which you should aim to purchase your gerbils is when they are about six or seven weeks old.
Knowing how old your gerbils are can be tricky
If your potential pets have any of the following characteristics, then they definitely aren’t old enough and should not be purchased - doing so endangers the pups and contributes to a business that doesn’t have the best interests of the animals at heart. Remember, you’re aiming to find a pair of gerbils that are at least six or seven weeks old.
- Eyes that have not yet opened (this happens at about the three week mark).
- Sparse or thin fur - these animals are bald when they are born and develop hair over the course of several weeks. Once they have thick, full fur they are probably about four weeks old.
- Not on solid food - these animals have not yet been weaned off their mother’s milk and are too small to be taken away from her.
It is quite difficult to determine when a gerbil is the right age, so to some extent you will have to rely on the shopkeeper, shelter worker or breeder for accurate information. Don’t be afraid to quiz them, and make sure the dates they give you add up.