Gerbil poop is not your typical reading material as a gerbil owner trying to learn about gerbils, but feces are actually a great indicator of the gerbil’s overall health.
Learning what healthy gerbil poop looks like and how to detect any unusual behavior, color or form could be a lifesaver for your little gerbil friend.
In fact, the most common diseases that affect gerbils manifest symptoms in their feces, which will allow you to act quickly and ultimately save your gerbil.
So let’s start this guide with the obvious questions and work our way down the various pieces of information you need and situations you could encounter.
Table of Contents
What does gerbil poop look like?
To be able to tell if your gerbil’s droppings are unusual you need to know what normal gerbil poop looks like, and it’s very easy to tell if something is wrong because they have a very unique look.
Regular gerbil feces are small firm black dry droppings the size of a wheat grain or smaller, they tend not to have a distinct smell, and that’s why gerbils are great pets.
The firm and dry feces make it easier to clean the gerbilarium, especially that most gerbils chose one spot as their potty corner and will stick with it unless stressed or ill.
Do gerbils poop a lot?
By rodents standards, no gerbils do not poop a lot, but they do poop whenever they need to, their feces are very small and they’ll have to go multiple times during the day.
Gerbils are very small animals and they can’t hold on too much so they drop multiple pellets during the day, there is no exact number (although some dedicated owner counted 60) but it’s generally a few pellets at a time.
Where do gerbils poop?
What makes gerbils great pets is that unlike most rodents they are very clean animals, their feces like we’ve seen are firm and dry and do not smell but on top of that they usually poop in the same spot.
Gerbils do not need any litter training, most gerbils learn at a very young age to choose a corner for their droppings and they’ll keep coming back to it.
They make it very easy for owners to clean their tanks, and it’s even better to have a small sand area where they can go, something that’s easy to pick up and clean.
Is gerbil poop dangerous?
The risk of infection from gerbils is very low if their gerbilarium is cleaned properly and they do not come into contact with wild animals, such as other rats.
However, gerbils can carry diseases such as Salmonellosis, which is a bacterial infection caused by a group of bacteria called Salmonella. The bacteria are shed in the stool of infected animals.
Treatment is generally not effective for the control of salmonellosis. Taking steps to prevent the spread of this bacterial infection is the best way to manage salmonellosis in gerbils.
Salmonellosis infection is highly contagious and is mainly transmitted through the ingestion of food and water that has been contaminated with infected feces and/or urine. Therefore, properly cleaning the cages regularly and removing any feces and urine, along with changing soiled bedding material routinely, are essential.petmd.com
It is obvious that it is not sanitary to pick up gerbil poop with bare hands or to keep gerbils in areas where you eat.
Do gerbils poop when they are scared?
It is very common for gerbils to poop a lot more when they are scared or stressed, and they’ll poop right where they’re standing.
Usually, gerbils prefer to poop in the same spot, but when scared they can poop where they’re standing even on you if you’re handling them.
You might have noticed this behavior when first handling your gerbils or if there is unusual movement around their gerbilarium.
Most gerbils like to be held, but it is always best to avoid any sudden movements when handling them and to use some treats to lure them and gain their trust first.
Do gerbils poop when they are excited?
Pooping out of excitement is not very common for gerbils although it might happen sometimes, most gerbils like to poo in the same spot, and unless they are stressed or taken out of their tank for too long that they can’t hold it they usually don’t.
Some gerbil owners mistakenly confuse fear with excitement, handling the gerbil – that might seem happy to run around and to be held- is nevertheless a stressful event for them due to their predatory reflexes.
A gerbil that is taken out of the comfort of his habitat will feel stressed even if having a good time running and jumping around.
Why does my gerbil poop on me?
There are two main reasons why gerbils would poop on you, the first is if they are scared, which we explained earlier, the second is if you keep handling them too long.
Gerbils are small animals and they can’t really hold it too long, so if you keep playing with your gerbils, chances are they’ll poop on you.
Gerbil poop colors and what they indicate
Gerbil poop color is not something most gerbil owners will have in mind, but it’s always important to keep an eye on it.
The color and texture of the feces could be a real tool to check if your gerbil is healthy or not, and different colors are the only way to detect some dangerous diseases early on and potentially save your gerbil’s life.
The gerbil’s feces change color to green usually due to the food coloring and bile, and most commonly the combination of both.
Why is my gerbil poop green?
Food with blue coloring and bright green coloring is usually the reason why gerbil poop turns green, but it is not something to be alarmed about.
Green gerbil poop is not associated with any dangerous issues gerbils might suffer from, all you need to do is to check their diet for any new foods that could be the cause.
Light green poop is generally food that was digested quickly and still has plenty of nutrients and vitamins in it.
Why is my gerbil poop red?
When gerbil’s feces change colors the first suspect is always food dyes, as long as the texture is not watery, it’s generally fine.
Sometimes the food dyes are not fully broken down so the feces ends up with whatever color is left.
Red discoloration in feces is common, but you just need to make sure it is not watery or contains stains of blood, you can do this by checking your gerbil’s butt for blood stains or traces of cuts.
Why is my gerbil poop light beige?
Light beige is a typical color for gerbil feces especially ones that are old, gerbil feces change color and get older and dry.
The light beige color is also an indication that the gerbil has digested the food fully and that there are no nutrients left in it.
If you notice light beige-colored gerbil feces it also means you’re not cleaning the gerbilarium as often as you should.
Why is my gerbil poop white?
Gerbil white poop is just discolored old feces, however, if you notice white stains in the feces while they’re the regular dark brown/black color then it might be parasites.
In the case of parasite doubt, you can take a sample to your vet for a fecal test to confirm if it is the problem.
Why is my gerbil poop wet?
Mushy and wet poop is not a good sign, it usually indicates diarrhea but it can be worst, that’s why it needs to be taken seriously.
Gerbils have very sensitive digestive systems and are prone to diarrhea, any change in their diet or the consumption of too many water-rich fruits can cause this problem.
I would suggest you go through our gerbil food guide for different fruits and veggies and which ones should be avoided.
Why does my gerbil have diarrhea?
There a few reasons why gerbils can get diarrhea, it can sometimes be related to their diet, gerbils are desert rodents that consume very little water so overconsuming water-rich fruits like we’ve explained can be the cause.
All you have to do is to stop feeding them any fruits, a good seeds mix will suffice, until you are sure it’s the fruits that caused diarrhea.
Sudden changes in food can also be the reason for diarrhea in gerbils, even regular dry food might be the cause especially for new gerbils after a change in homes.
A more serious reason could be Tyzzer’s Disease, a very fatal illness for gerbils, usually, once you’ve noticed that you’re gerbil has the disease it’s sadly too late to treat it.
The best way to keep your gerbils safe is strict hygiene good bedding and burrowing material and keeping your gerbils away from other rodents such as mice.
Why do gerbils eat their own poop?
As disgusting as it might sound but gerbils do eat their own poop on occasions, it’s actually a normal behavior among some animal species like dogs.
Let’s finish this article with class, It’s so common it has a name; Coprophagia which means animals eating their own excrement or others.
The main reason gerbils and other animals will consume their own feces is because it still contains some undigested food that still has some vital nutrients in it.
In gerbils, this is not a recurrent act, but it’s a sign that your gerbil is having some hard time digesting what you’ve been feeding him and it might need some fruits or veggies to loosen it up.
Gerbil feces are a great indicator for their general health and can sometimes help you detect some serious diseases early on and save your gerbil’s life.
A natural diet with no dyes is best for your gerbils and avoiding water-rich foods is a great way to keep your gerbil healthy.
Strict hygiene and good quality bedding will keep your gerbil healthy and also frequent cleaning of the gerbilarium.
I would suggest you get one of those gerbil pooper scoopers to clean the poop out, and try not to touch it with your hands as it can sometimes be dangerous.
Gerbils tend to poop in one particular spot so cleaning the feces is usually easy and does not need a complete change of bedding.