Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Gerbils biting

Discussion in 'Rodents' started by kat04kt, Jan 30, 2012.


  1. kat04kt

    kat04kt PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    4
    Hello,

    Any advice for the three gerbils I have who have taken to eating my hand whenever it is placed in the cage?!

    They are not, 'bite, biting' - more trying to chew on me. It doesn't hurt. They come running up to me, rather than me trying to pick them up, and as they seem very pleased I'm there giving me lots of winks! They generally seem very happy. They are comfortable taking treats from me, infact they all push and nudge each other out the way. They will also sit with me while they eat them. So I'm at a loss as to how to stop this - let's see if we can also eat this lovely hand on offer - behaviour! haha.

    They do it with everything, a sleeve (they just pick it up in their hands and try to munch it up), a knuckle, skin - whatever you name it - they are trying to eat it.....

    They have plenty of things to gnaw on.

    I've tried the puff air and say no - but this doesn't seem to bother them, they sort of wink at me and then get down to business in trying to eat me again.....lol.

    Any ideas? Like I say this isn't aggressive biting, they aren't frightened or being picked up when they do it - it's very much a gnawing action they are performing. How can I teach them that Mummy's hand and clothing is not a gnaw treat?

    xxxx
     
    #1 kat04kt, Jan 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  2. kat04kt

    kat04kt PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    4
    Bump - anyone? Any ideas at all? I'm being eaten here.... help! lol
     
  3. thedogsmother

    thedogsmother PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    20,846
    Likes Received:
    509
    I havent a clue if Im honest Kat, mine have never done anything like that, if I have a gerbil question I usually fire it at GerbilNik on here though, so she might be able to offer advice. they arent trying to move your hand are they?
     
  4. kat04kt

    kat04kt PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    4
    Hey - nope not trying to move my arm/hand - just eat it, haha.

    I was actually in stitches laughing myself because Itsy had a hold of my jumper, she literally pulls my jumper up with her hands and starts chewing away and I was blowing on her - and she was just sort of blinking like there was a strong wind but was completely unphased by it!

    I was like itsy come on - blowing's all I have. She's like, don't care blow away doesn't bother me, infact I quite like it, nom nom nom nom on my sleeve.

    If they didn't seem so affectionate and confident around me in general I'd be more looking to taming techniques, but we've kind of done all that. Even the most shyiest one comes running to see me now - that took yonks! She wouldn't come out for love nor money - now she's clambering up the sides of the tank and heaving herself out on to me.

    Actually I have a video I made of them at the weekend! I think they look happy??

    Here's the link!

    Gerbil Fun - my first edited video :) - YouTube
     
  5. kat04kt

    kat04kt PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    4
    Come on people.....! I feel like you've all desserted me in my hour of need!

    Right well in the lack of any other advice - I'm about to try a trick they use on dogs for mouthing! Basically hold a treat in my fist and only open the fist when the gerbils stop biting. Am seriously at a lose of what else I can try.

    This is gonna be bloody painful! If you don't here from me in say 45 minutes - call an ambulance or something I've probably been gnawed to death! :D
     
  6. thedogsmother

    thedogsmother PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    20,846
    Likes Received:
    509
    :( Hope it works, I wish I could help but I really dont know what to suggest.
     
  7. kat04kt

    kat04kt PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    4
    I totally whimped out :eek: and let them destroy my top instead. On the plus side they took sunflower seeds from the back of my hand without eating me.

    I don't understand and they're just so cute running up and down my arms - damn those gerbils for trying to eat me! haha. Messaged GerbilNik - hopefully they have time to come back with some suggestions!

    xx
     
  8. davidc

    davidc PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2010
    Messages:
    3,951
    Likes Received:
    192
    When my gerbil Sandy used to bite me, I bought a pair of gardening gloves and wore those when handling her until she stopped biting me.
    But a friend was at my flt, I turned my head round for a minute nd he suddenly told me to watch out. she discovered the gardening glove wsn't skin, so while I had my hand in ready to get her out, she had climbed very slowly, so slowly I couldn't feel it up my arm and was about to bite it. lol
    When have you ever seen a gerbil walk slow?!
     
  9. kat04kt

    kat04kt PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    4
    No way! - maybe they just like biting people, like a gerbils way of saying, 'I love you - like I love cardboard,' nom nom nom nom.

    hehe. Maybe our gerbils just love us more than anyone elses and wanna give us love bites? haha.

    yeah it's a tricky one because they aren't being mean doing it. They're running on me and they are always in a space where it's there choice if they want to run all over me.

    Man and trying to find proper information on gerbils is hard. Why aren't there any books specifically on behaviour? It's all housing and care - which of course we need, but then they only contain two or three pages on behaviour (and like three chapters on breeding - which is stupid, there are way more average pet owners than breeders!) and it bugs me because once I get the housing right and all the what you must do for them, the behaviour is the interesting part which changes day to day and there's just not enough info on it!

    xx
     
  10. xkimxo

    xkimxo PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Messages:
    958
    Likes Received:
    16
    I know pretty much nothing about gerbils but I know rats sometimes test bite - they have a small nibble to see if your edible, maybe gerbils do that too although rats don't carry on with it for a long time. Hope you get it sorted though.
     
  11. GerbilNik

    GerbilNik PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    486
    Likes Received:
    6
  12. kat04kt

    kat04kt PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    4

    Oh my G-d I didn't know that! I won't do that again! Thanks for the links will take a look now :)

    They are from a rescue. We aren't certain about their age. I've had them for about 2.5 months. They were in quarantine for a month. So they are deffo older than 3.5 months. I guess as they arrived dumped in a box but with eyes open etc that they were approaching a month old.

    So all in all, they are atleast 4 - 4.5 months old. They were actually in a box with three boys when they were dumped, yet none of the girls were pregnant so the lady at the rescue said they had to be very very young. That's why I have three, a bad number I know! But after their horrible start in life I couldn't leave one behind and had to take my chances that they would get on ok together. I know now it's incredibly difficult to bond an adult female with another - but I just got to take the chance....which I am nervous about. So far all ok and they play very happily together.

    One thing though, when they arrived at the rescue they were very malnutrioned, dirty and looked as if they hadn't been given any care at all. Since being with me they haven't really grown much - just put on slightly more weight, they are very small - much smaller than other gerbils I've seen, although they are females. I guess if they were malnutrioned and starving this could have effected whether they were able to become pregnant - so perhaps they are older, but I think it's most likely they were an unwanted accidental litter.

    Also, this behaviour has just suddenly come on.. They weren't doing it before, but started doing it shorlty after being placed in the mega tank (they spent about a month in a small perfecto while I was waiting for the mega tank to be made!)

    Hope this info helps?

    xxxx
     
  13. kat04kt

    kat04kt PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    4
    mmmmm, I read the links and although it's really useful information it doesn't seem to be what the issue is. My gerbils don't bite me. They aren't afraid, they will happily play with me and I never try to pick them up. I'd just rather they come to me which they do, they fight over me themselves budging each other out the way for a treat. They also like to sort of dance with my fingers. If I wiggle my fingers above them they seem to think this is great funny. They climb up my arm in the safety of their own tank - I leave my arm in there and they love walking up and down it.

    They come right up to me (you can see from the video - what they are like). They do trust me. They aren't 'chomping down', it's more of a nom nom nom nom action.

    I give them time in the bath - with toys to play with and again leave my arm over the side, they will happily play, climbing and sitting and jumping on me.

    Now I wear long sleeved clothing and pull it down over my hands - to stop them chewing my skin, it doesn't hurt like if a hamster bite you would, but they have sharp teeth so if they are chewing it still hurts, if you know what I mean?

    I will get some garden gloves though so I feel more confident about having my hand in there without having a sleeve pulled over it!

    I will try and film them doing it, so hopefully you will be able to see what I mean.


    Thanks GerbilNik!
    xxxx
     
  14. kat04kt

    kat04kt PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    4
    Ok, have a video - just waiting for it to upload onto youtube - be back in ten minutes with a link - really really hoping you can tell me what I'm doing wrong!

    Thanks!
     
  15. kat04kt

    kat04kt PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    4
  16. GerbilNik

    GerbilNik PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    486
    Likes Received:
    6
    Had a look at the video and just seems they are using you to gnaw on. As long as you keep allowing them to do it then they will carry on. Best thing to do is if they do something you don't want them to do, you can try saying "NO" in a fairly stern voice and move your arm/finger/hand away. Gerbils separated from their parents too early tend to be more likely to show this sort of behaviour as they have never really learned how to act "properly".

    You could also try washing your hands before you interact with them and rubbing your hands in their bedding so the scent stays the same. If you have touched other animals or eaten food before handling this can also encourage them to have a nibble. Really the easiest solution though is just to move your hand away if they use you as a gnawing block!
     
  17. kat04kt

    kat04kt PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    4
    Ok, thanks will try that.

    I read today that you can try pushing them very very gently away by pressing on their nose. I read that this is what gerbils do to one another when one is doing something they don't like.

    As I got the blowing thing wrong, is this idea ok? Or wrong aswell?

    Thanks so much

    xxxx
     
  18. Becky J

    Becky J PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2018
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    I've had my boys for a few days now, and one has taken to nibbling, never draws blood, but I was concerned and asked my brother, who is an animal care student at a local college, apparently, gerbils do something called 'love-biting', and as he gave me a present when I was sick the other day, just some of his bedding that he sometimes eats, I do believe this is the reason, he also nips my finger and holds onto it with his paws and won't let my hand get away, so not very likely agression.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice