Can Gerbils Overheat? Shocking Answer!

In the heat of summer, we all do everything we can do to protect our skin from the extreme heat of the sun. This is because if we spend too much time under the sun, we can get dehydrated or make our skin burn. The worst thing that might happen to us humans during summer is getting heatstroke. 

Heatstroke can be pretty dangerous if we are not careful during summer. Long exposure to high temperatures and a lack of water can make it difficult for us to breathe. We can also lose our consciousness. However, what about gerbils? Gerbils usually live their lives in the comfort of their homes where the temperature is steady. If the temperature is steady, can gerbils overheat? 

Can gerbils overheat? Yes! Gerbils can overheat! Like any other mammals, gerbils can die under high temperatures, especially if there is no water. Gerbils usually overheat if left in a very hot temperature room or left in the sunlight for too long without any cover. Gerbils usually overheat during summer. 

We all know as pet owners that we should never leave our beloved pets unattended in hot cars or other hot areas. We also then need to remember to prevent heatstroke in our smaller pets like gerbils. Today, we will discuss some of the risks involved in gerbils overheating, what to do if you spot the warning sign, and more!

Why Does Your Gerbil Overheat?

It is essential to know why your pet gerbil overheats. It is easy to assume that a gerbil would be completely fine in hot temperatures. The ancestors of gerbils are wild sand rats that scurry around the deserts of Africa and Asia in high heat. However, gerbils are not like them. 

These ancestors of gerbils can change their habits and physiology to cope with temperatures above 68 degrees Fahrenheit and below -4 degrees Fahrenheit. They are more capable in this mid-range. These animals can choose to head to a cool area if it is very hot, to find water, slow down their metabolic rate, and rest. 

Your pet gerbil has no the same free will as their ancestors have. Our pet gerbil lives where we decide to put them in our homes. That is why they have to put up with the conditions we provide. We have to remember that our pet gerbils live with us and can feel a more extreme version of what we feel. 

It means that our pet gerbil can easily overheat in high temperatures if we don’t help them out. Conditions like gerbils getting heatstroke or overheating can be severe. That is why you must know the symptoms and treat them as soon as possible. Never neglect your pet gerbil, especially during summer. Don’t buy a pet gerbil if you can’t handle the responsibilities. 

When Do Gerbils Overheat?

Gerbils can overheat and it can lead to death if you have not prevented it quickly. But, when do gerbils overheat? When should you become alert and act cautiously? Gerbils overheat during summer. This is because, during the summer season, it is very hot!

Different Signs Of Gerbil Overheating

There are few different signs you must watch out for on your pet gerbil, especially during the summer season. Here are some of the signs that I found while researching the signs of gerbil overheating. This comes from different forums and vets. This means that these signs come from real-life experience and science. 

First, your gerbil will start panting. Your gerbil will start to pant when they are overheating. 

  • Your gerbil may seem to be breathing fast with their mouth open. 
  • This could mean that your gerbil’s temperature has risen and they are trying to cool their temperature down. 

The second sign is your gerbil will start to rearrange their habitat. Some gerbils may start rearranging the cage bedding to create a cool space in which to lie down. 

  • This can look like a lot of bedding in one place. 
  • Gerbils sometimes can create a small tunnel to cool off in. 
  • This usually creates a dark cool place to escape the heat.

The third sign is your gerbil will become noticeably slower. In more prolonged cases, your gerbil may show more lethargic movements. 

  • Your gerbil might tremble due to exhaustion. 
  • Your gerbil may choose to stay in their homes or hide more often due to exhaustion. 
  • Your gerbil may eat and exercise less. 

The behavior of your gerbil becomes different than they are used to. Your gerbil may exhibit mood swings. 

  • Your gerbil may become more irritable.
  • If your gerbil has enough energy, your gerbil may become more aggressive than usual even though they know you well. 

These are the signs that you need to look for if you think that your gerbil is starting to overheat. This usually happens during summer. If this all goes unnoticed, your gerbil might just lose consciousness suddenly. 

What Should You Do When Your Gerbil Overheats?

So, what should you do when your gerbil overheats? Here is what you should do! 

First, move your affected gerbil to a safe place as soon as you can. The cooler and darker the place is, the better. Don’t forget that the area should have a little airflow. Gerbils are social animals, which is why it is fine to move them together if you have multiple gerbils. 

Make sure the room is cool with a good supply of air. The gerbil should have access to cool water and a little bit of fresh food. Leave your gerbil alone and tell your family members not to disturb your pet gerbil. This is essential because your affected gerbil needs to feel comfortable so they should get their peace. 

Check on your affected gerbil regularly to watch for signs of improvement. If you do the right thing, the animal will perk up and recover. You need to act quickly and be as beneficial as possible. 

Let your gerbil get back to their old self in this safe space and then consider some ways to prevent it from happening again. Never let this happen too often! Also, never leave your gerbils separated from each other for too long because they can be affected negatively by loneliness. They love to be with their friends during this tough situation. 

If your pet gerbil does not show rapid signs of improvement and you have already done everything you can to help, then maybe it is time to bring your pet gerbil to the vet. Be very careful when transporting your pet gerbil to the vet to make sure that they will not overheat further and ensure there is water inside your car. 

What Should You Not Do When Your Gerbil Overheats?

Be very careful when giving your gerbil certain snacks when you are trying to rehydrate your pet gerbil when it overheats. Some gerbil owners love to give their gerbils lots of cold fresh fruit like watermelon, apple, strawberries, and grapes. This is to rehydrate them and refresh them. However, some gerbil owners give too much. 

Never forget that gerbils should be on a restricted diet during summer because their metabolic rate drops in high temperatures. You can stick on the water for immediate rehydration. Water is the best thing for rehydration for both animals and humans. Never give in to the desire to pet your gerbil or carry it while it is trying to recover. 

This is not as helpful and comforting as you think, especially if your pet gerbil is irritable. The heat of your body or hands will not aid the cooling process of your pet gerbil. Lastly, never cover the cage. Some gerbil owners think that covering the cage with a towel will help to calm the animal and block out the sun. The intention is good. However, the towel may restrict airflow into the cage of your gerbil. 

How To Keep Your Gerbil’s Temperature Regular?

The best way to prevent your gerbil from overheating, especially during the summer season, is to ensure that they can cool off by themselves. This means that you have to create a living space that is ideal for your gerbil during summer. You can ask yourself what kind of living space you want during summer. 

Of course, you will build a portable pool or create a shade to cool off. So for your pet gerbil, creating enclosed spaces, like small hideaways and tunnels will be nice. This is a good job at mimicking their natural burrows. Also, you can put a little swimming pool inside the cage of your gerbil so that they can jump there whenever they feel hot. 

Never forget to check on your pet gerbil regularly to make sure that they are fine and do not need anything. This means checking the health and well-being of your pet gerbil, the heat of the cage, and their water bowl. 

Your pet gerbil will drink more water than usual during summer. That is why you have to make sure to keep their bottles clean and topped off. If the sun has moved that it is directly shining on the cage of your gerbil, move the cage to the cooler part of the room or of your house. You can also close the blinds or curtains to block the sun’s rays. 

Assuring that you are doing all that you can to keep your pet gerbil’s temperature regular is the best way to prevent your pet gerbil from any kind of overheating or heatstroke. 

Final Words

Your pet gerbil can overheat. The main cause of overheating on gerbils is the extreme heat of the sun. That is why during summer, you must make sure that your pet gerbil has enough water in its cage and the sun is not directly pointing in its cage. If your gerbil overheats, just follow the steps I have given to you above.

Jake Willhoite
Jake runs and has had cats and dogs his entire life. As a kid his family adopted several dogs from the local shelter which set him down the path of animal rescue.
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