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Are LED Lights Bad For Gerbils? Facts You Need To Know

Advances in home technology have made our lives easier and efficient. However, does having technology also have an effect on the pets that we live with?

In this article, we will delve into LED lights and get answers on whether LED lights are bad for gerbils.

Are LED Lights Bad For Gerbils?

LED lights are bad for gerbils because gerbils have excellent eyesight and a greater range of perception meaning they can see light flickers from LED light which are unseen to the human eye, which is harmful to them in terms of causing fear, stress, and potential damage to their eye’s retina. 

The flickers or flashing of light are a series of very short and fast light flashes at low frequency which is like looking at a flashing electric touch light going on and off continuously, from a gerbil’s viewpoint. 

LED Lights

The LED acronym stands for light emitting diode. The lighting produces light by use of a light emitting diode instead of a filament in comparison with the traditional incandescent bulbs.

The use of LED lights in homes has increased over the years. According to Zion Market Research, 40% of the global $26 billion LED lighting market was going to homes as of 2016. 

This number rises each year as we move from the use of incandescent bulbs to LED lights.

The LED lights come with a lot of benefits compared to conventional bulbs including low power consumption, longer life, cooler temperatures because they do not produce heat and also come in different colors.

LED lights are not only used in lighting homes, they are also used in televisions, computer monitors, smartphones, billboards, public street lights, car lights, and transport vehicles.

Can Gerbils Be Around LED Lights?

Gerbils should not be around LED lights especially those with high flicker percentages and flicker index whose light appears as fast flashing light as observed by gerbils. This effect causes disorientation and distress in a gerbil. Flicker is the change in brightness of a light and the intensity of it can be high or low.

To clearly explain this, it is best to know how humans perceive light and are processed by the brain compared to a gerbil.

The Critical Flicker Fusion (CFF) threshold in humans, which is the frequency a human can observe light to be steady, is as low as 24 flickers per second or 24 Hertz (Hz). 

Videos are normally shot at 30 frames per second which is higher than 24Hz and that’s why we can see videos as a steady picture without flashing or flickering.

On the other hand, gerbils and other animals have a more sensitive CFF and can see fast light flashes that are invincible to our human eye and which our eyes perceive as a steady light.

The flickering from the light gives a strobe effect where light pulses in a fast series of flashes that are short and intense. 

This can be distressing to a gerbil because what they see is the continuous flashing of the light. 

A study conducted on rats (rodent family) on the effect of LED lights on their eyes showed that LED lights induced retinal damage and loss of photoreceptors.

Similar research was conducted by the University of Southern California on the effect of different LED light colors on different animals. 

The results showed that some LED colors, that is, whites and blues were harmful while other colors such as amber, yellow and green were less harmful. 

Animals in the study included different animal species such as insects and sea turtles which were affected by LED light colors. 

The study was limited to a few animal species however this has given room for more studies to be conducted on other animals and the effect of LED lights. 

What To Do

So, should we all stop using LED lights for the sake of our gerbil and other pets in our home?

Well, just like the devices in our homes that produce ultrasonic emissions and the ones having LED lighting, we cannot entirely stop using them.

Read here to find out whether gerbils like to watch TV, one of the devices in your home that produces ultrasound.

Technology is something we cannot totally take away from our lives but you still can do something to minimize your gerbil’s exposure to them. This includes:

  • Buying LED lights with low flicker percentages and flicker index.
  • Relocate your gerbil to a room that has fewer devices that use LED lights and also which produce ultrasonic emissions such as computers, television, vacuum cleaners and even running water.
  • Minimize the use of these devices near your gerbil.


Technology has really advanced and has helped us work more efficiently and get things done faster and with ease.

But then again we have to think of the effect of technology on our pets. Ultrasonic emissions and LED lights are one of the major concerns today and how they affect our pets.

The current studies have shown a level of effect on pets. Therefore to also be proactive in protecting your pet, you need to keep abreast with the research and what can be done about this. 

I hope this article helped you know whether LED lights are bad for gerbils and how you can minimize your gerbil’s exposure to them so that they are less agitated or irritated.


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