Puberty is the stage of sexual maturity where an animal can reproduce.
It is a transition from childhood stage to adulthood where the body begins to have physical changes and matures into an adult body that is capable of reproduction.
Humans go through this phase. So do gerbils go through puberty as well?
In this article, we’re looking at the life of a gerbil with a particular focus on the puberty stage. Keep reading to find out what to expect before, during, and after this transitional stage of life.
Do Gerbils Go Through Puberty?
Gerbils do go through puberty and they get there quickly. They only live for a short time. A gerbil’s lifespan is only about two to eight years. They go through puberty around 40 to 65 days into life. Female gerbils can start having babies at 10 weeks old.
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When Do Gerbils Go Through Puberty?
On average, gerbils go through puberty around 40 days old, though sometimes it’s up to 65 days.
After puberty, it is apparent what each gerbil’s gender is. Males have visible testicles located under their tails.
Before puberty, it’s difficult to tell what gender a gerbil is. The spot under the tail usually looks like a hairless patch up until about seven weeks.
Vets and other professional animal handlers may be well-versed in gerbil anatomy, but even they can’t always tell the gender of a gerbil before puberty.
Do Male and Female Gerbils Go Through Puberty at the Same Age?
Male and female gerbils go through puberty at around the same age. By seven weeks old, they’re either in this stage or through it.
Sometimes a younger female gerbil may mature through puberty sooner if she’s put in an environment with an older male.
Do gerbils menstruate?
No, gerbils do not menstruate. Unlike human females whose menstruation cycle begins at puberty, gerbils do not have a menstrual cycle where there is bleeding from the womb. The lining of their womb during their reproductive cycle is not expelled but reabsorbed back into their body.
However, female gerbils do have an estrus cycle like humans which is an ovarian cycle marked by a period where a female can become pregnant by mating and a period where they cannot due to maturation and release of eggs from their ovaries.
The female gerbil’s estrus cycle is 4 – 6 days meaning they have this period when they can get pregnant. They also have a 4 – 6 day period where they cannot fall pregnant.
This is a short cycle meaning a female gerbil can easily become pregnant every time they mate.
Puberty and Gerbil Bonding
Gerbils are territorial animals. If you’re planning to keep more than one gerbil in the same habitat, cage them together before puberty.
This helps the animals bond, so they can live together harmoniously. Also, ensure that the gerbils are of the same gender when pairing them.
When you try to put two or more adult gerbils together post-puberty, you may end up with a lot of fighting that can lead to injuries.
Male or female gerbils that are introduced after puberty are aggressive with each other.
Gerbils can breed as early as 10 weeks old. The gestation period of a female gerbil is right around 25 days. She will give birth to an average of four to six babies. These babies will wean at about three weeks.
Generally, a female gerbil that’s caged with a male will produce more young at intervals of 30 to 40 days. Gerbil moms can easily give birth to 50+ babies in their lifetime.
With this quick cycle, you can end up with a lot of gerbils at home in a short time. If you don’t want gerbil babies, do not keep a male and female gerbil together.
Mates for Life
Once you put a male and female gerbil together, they typically mate frequently. Gerbils are monogamous by nature. Your paired gerbils will likely mate again right after the female gives birth.
This species is unique in that the male helps the female with raising the gerbil pups. He can also remain in the cage with her throughout her pregnancy, though she probably won’t allow him to come in the nest in the day or so before she has the babies.
Puberty is a very important developmental stage in animals. The stage allows for physiological transformation and transition from childhood to adulthood and maturation.
This paves way for the reproduction of animals. It is also an important period for gerbils which ensures that their family lines can be multiplied.
Puberty in gerbils may not be the same compared to humans but it has the same purpose of allowing the growth of animals to their reproductive stage of life.