Absolutely - gerbils need a companion in order to be happy. When they’re living in the wild, these creatures live in colonies or in special family groups, usually a male and a female and several generations of pups all nesting in the same burrow. Captive gerbils need friends just as their wild counterparts do - they need someone to talk to and curl up with during nap-time. Gerbils that are left on their own will be very unhappy - even if you play with them a lot they’ll still be lonely and depressed without a friend of their own species, so it’s best to get them a friend as soon as possible.
Gerbils are really social animals - they'll need another gerbil to talk to
While getting your gerbil a friend is definitely the best thing for your pet, the process itself can be quite tricky. Gerbils are incredibly scent-orientated creatures, and they can respond poorly to someone they see as an intruder. If your gerbil reacts like this to other gerbils, this is entirely natural and does not mean that they want to be left alone. The gerbils need to become used to one another’s company before they can be comfortable around each other. For tips and tricks on achieving this goal, have a look at our Introducing Gerbils section.
When you’re buying your gerbil a friend, you should know that gerbils should only be kept with other gerbils. Never should a gerbil be housed with another animal such as a guinea pig or a hamster as they’ll be very stressed and may even fight terribly. Stick to same-species companions for all rodent pets - rats need rat companions, guinea pigs need guinea pig companions, and gerbils need gerbil companions. If you hear that someone is keeping these animals alone or with a companion of a different species, those animals will be very unhappy and stressed - don’t follow in their footsteps!