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Do Gerbils Like To Watch TV? What You Need To Know

Gerbils are known to be stressed when exposed to loud noises and any unfamiliar environment around them. 

You may want to spend your time with them around your home even when watching TV. But do gerbils like to watch TV?

In this post, we will answer this question as well as inform you of the best place to place your gerbil.

Do Gerbils Like To Watch TV?

Gerbils do not like to watch TV because they can hear ultrasonic sounds and see the fast flickering of the LED light from the TV which is irritating to them causing distress and fear. They can hear everything we do plus much more including the flashing of an LED light that is unseen to the human eye. 

Therefore items in the home that produce ultrasound including the television, vacuum cleaners, computer screens, ultrasonic humidifiers or running water should be kept away from your gerbil.

What Is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a sound with a wave frequency that is higher than what the human ear can hear. This includes sound with higher than 20,000 wave frequencies per second, that is, 20,000 Hertz (Hz). 

The human ear can only hear sounds less than 20,000 Hz.

Several animals such as bats, dolphins, moths, whales use ultrasound for various purposes including communication, navigation, mating calls, or as a means of escaping predators.

Gerbils and other small pets such as rats and mice use ultrasound to communicate with each other.

Communication in ultrasonic sound is another advantage to them because it limits detection by predators by avoiding bringing attention to themselves.

Gerbils use ultrasound including other vocalizations that we tend to hear such as squeaking, chirping, yipping, and purring. 

What Happens If A Gerbil Watches TV? Can Ultrasound Hurt Gerbils?

A gerbil’s hearing is very sensitive because they can hear different frequencies of sound including ultrasonic emissions. 

Ultrasonic sounds from different household items can be high-pitched and very loud for a gerbil which irritates them. The sound can potentially hurt their ears if the sounds are powerful.

The LED light from the television is also seen as a fast flashing light by your gerbil which causes stress.

An irritated gerbil will be agitated and will also develop stress. 

A stressed gerbil will behave differently from its normal behavior. Some of these behaviors include loss of appetite, aggression, hyperactivity, constant urinating and defecating, hiding, foot-stomping, biting on the cage, scratching, digging, triggering of seizures.

Research that was conducted by the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine on lab animals has shown that noise alters the sleep, heart, endocrine cycles (hormones used in the regulation of biological processes in animals), behavior and increases susceptibility to seizures. 

US National Library of Medicine

The research used a variety of household noises including computer printers, ringing phones, among others, and the lab animals used included mice that also use ultrasound for communication like gerbils.

According to another research assessing the effect of noise, seizures developed in mice exposed to noise which led to the death of 75% of the animals.

What To Do About It

In today’s era of advanced technology and smart home tech, we cannot rule out the use of it. It is difficult to say don’t use these devices at home.

Also, the technology we have does not indicate the number of ultrasonic emissions that they produce that really upsets your gerbil or other pets in your home. 

Continued research will give a direction on how our pets can coexist with the tech in our lives, some of which affect them.

However, with the knowledge from the current research, you can still do something to not cause stress to your gerbil.

Strategies you can implement to minimize their exposure to ultrasound, not just from the TV but also from other household devices, include:

  • Move your gerbil’s cage to a quiet room in your home with no TV, electronics, or LED light. Read here to learn how LED lights also affect gerbils
  • Do not use the household devices that transmit ultrasonic emissions around them.
  • When not in use switch off the devices at the plug.
  • Have a separate room for your home entertainment or home office where you can work on your computer. Keep your gerbil away from these rooms.


You may think that it would be great to hang out with the gerbil next to you as you watch TV or to use TV to entertain them. But actually, TV and gerbils are not a good combination. 

It can be harmful to them.

By following the tips provided you can minimize your gerbil’s exposure to TV to provide them a stress-free environment.

I hope this article helped you solve the mystery of whether gerbils like to watch TV.


Hearing In Laboratory Animals

Noise And The Young Mouse: Effects on Cochlear Physiology and Audiogenic Seizures

Ultrasonic Signaling in The Gerbil