To me, senior gerbils are the most interesting. They have seen, heard and smelled it all. Senior gerbils start around the age of 2 ½ years old, and it’s very rare to have gerbils live beyond 3 years old, though I had mommy gerbil live to be 5 years old. At this age they will start to slow down, sleep more, and chew less, but they seem to mellow out. They start getting that “old man” look.
This is also the time when you need to start keeping a closer eye on their health, and especially their teeth. Because they chew less to wear their teeth down, you might need to start doing teeth clippings. You might also need to start supplementing their diet. My one senior boy gets baby oatmeal every morning and baby rice every evening to make sure his gets his vitamins. Unfortunately, as a gerbil gets older, they will be prone to illness and tumors. Many cases with tumors in gerbils, there is nothing you can do but give supportive care. As long as the gerbil can eat, drink chew, sleep and groom their friend, they are happy. I’ve found you also tend to grow more of a bond with your senior gerbil as you spend more time with him. If the gerbil lives in a chilly area, get a reptile heating pad (the desert one, not the rainforest one), and attach it to the outside of the tank on the bottom where your gerbil nests. Always make sure there is at least 2″ of bedding packed over the mat area.
If you have a senior gerbil, always have the following supplies on hand:
- Baby foods such as baby oatmeal, baby rice cereal, and a jar or two of baby food – This comes in powder form, you just need to add water, and it helps older gerbils get the nutrients they need if their teeth are bothering them.
- Rolled oats, fresh frozen peas, and cooked noodles – These are all easy to chew, healthy foods for older gerbils who can eat more than mush.
- Bottled spring water – older gerbils may be more sensitive to chemicals in tap water, so keep some bottled on hand just in case.
- Walnuts and almonds – older gerbils still love treats and snacks! Walnuts and almonds are packed with nutrients including the kind of fat older gerbils need to stay healthy.
There is also a tonic available to help with vitamins too when the gerbil is ill to help it recover. If you want the recipe, or have any other questions on senior gerbil care, contact me at email@example.com for a full senior gerbil care guide.