If you are a gerbil parent, you may have likely seen your gerbil in a period of zoomies. That is, one second they are calm then suddenly they start running back and forth within their cage, seemingly chasing an invisible thing.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about your gerbil’s frantic runs, what causes this behavior, and what to do about it.
Do Gerbils Get Zoomies?
Yes, gerbils do get the zoomies. These short bursts of intense activity naturally occur when a gerbil has extra energy stored that it needs to burn off. The zoomies are perfectly normal and should not be prevented. Although in some instances, they can be a sign that your gerbil is overstimulated.
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What Are Zoomies?
Zoomies or Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAPs) is a term used to refer to noticeable change inactivity, that is hyperactivity.
Typically this involves short bursts of intense activity, including running around and burrowing.
Zoomies are common amongst a variety of animals, including dogs, cats, and gerbils.
This spontaneous burst of energy is brought about by a period of inactivity, filled with the need to release the zoomies usually manifest in hyperactivity.
The video below shows a with gerbil zoomies.
What Causes the Zoomies?
A build-up of energy
If your gerbil has been inactive for an extended period leads to a build-up of energy.
Your gerbil will want to release this energy in some form, typically in the form of hyperactive what we have come to know as the zoomies.
Overstimulation is a symptom of your gerbil being stressed. Multiple factors could contribute to this, including:
- Environmental stressors (such as loud noises)
- Illness or injury
If my Gerbil Gets The Zoomies, What Do I Do?
When faced with the case of the zoomies, it is best to let your gerbil ride it out. Zoomies are very intense bursts of energy that only last a few minutes.
Attempting to physically stop your gerbil could result in injury.
How Do I Prevent My Gerbil From Getting Zoomies?
If you think your gerbil is getting a case of the zoomies a little too often, then here are a few ways to reduce the chances of your little furry friend getting a case of the zoomies.
Plenty of Exercises
Gerbils are highly active animals. When they do not have the opportunity to burn off that energy, it can cause them to become distressed and irritable.
By making sure your gerbil gets between half an hour to an hour of exercise every day, you reduce the chance of it getting the zoomies.
There are plenty of options to help your gerbil get the exercise it needs. It can be done through an exercise wheel, a maze, or allowing your gerbil the chance to roam around the room in its ball.
Plenty of Bedding
If there is one thing gerbils love, it is burrowing. As rodents, it is their natural instinct to want to dig.
Layering your gerbil’s cage with plenty of paper bedding will provide another opportunity to burn off excess energy.
Gerbil bedding should be at least 5-6 inches deep to allow them to burrow easily. Also, obtain the right gerbil bedding material which does not cause allergic irritation or emergence of respiratory infections.
The best gerbil bedding includes CareFresh bedding, Kaytee Clean and Cozy, Aspen wood shavings, hay, ink, or dye-free shredded paper and cardboard shavings.
A Quiet Environment Away from Other Animals
Loud noises can easily stress gerbils. So if you have any noisy children or other pets, try to minimize the time they spend in the gerbil’s room.
With Gerbils communicating via ultrasonic sound, appliances such as TVs, vacuum cleaners, and computers can also cause gerbil stress.
Zoomies are short periods of hyperactivity, a normal part of gerbil behavior and not in any way harmful to them.
Just like young children, your gerbil may have pent-up energy that needs to be released. Provide them outlets to burn off their excess energy. This ensures your gerbil continues to live an enriched life.