Do Gerbils Like To Be Held?

One of the most enjoyable aspects of having dogs is hugging, petting, and holding them near. However, because gerbils are easily frightened and agitated, they may not appear as friendly. Most gerbils prefer touching or sitting on your palm. Once trust has been formed, some gerbils may allow cuddling or hugging. Every day, spend time with your gerbil to develop your friendship. To persuade a gerbil to like you, you must gradually earn its trust over time. If you can get a gerbil to eat from your hand, you’ve taken the first step toward a more satisfying relationship.

Do Gerbils Show Affection?

Gerbils are gregarious and affectionate. This is true in the wild as well as in captivity. This is one reason why they make excellent pets. Due to the friendly nature of wild gerbils, their social systems are complicated. According to Behavioral and Neural Biology, the social interactions of gerbils can be defined by the color of their coats. Female gerbils appear to prefer socializing with male gerbils of the same color.

Keep in mind, however, that varying levels of affection and trust exist. A gerbil that is content when being petted may not be content when being held. And a gerbil that enjoys being held in your hands may not appreciate being caressed more closely. Some gerbils dislike affection tremendously. This is not uncommon, and if you’ve had multiple gerbils, you may have previously encountered one that dislikes being caressed or petted.

Gerbils are similar to humans in that they possess personalities. Some gerbils enjoy receiving and giving affection, while others are more aloof. Your gerbil may also be in a foul temper, as it may have just engaged in combat with other gerbils. If so, you should let your gerbil alone for some time. Regularly displaying kindness and affection can persuade your gerbil that you are not an enemy.

Do Gerbils Enjoy Being Held?

The next “step up” after touching your gerbil is holding it. This requires your gerbil to trust you and not perceive you as a threat. You must first help your gerbil become accustomed to being petted and stroked.

white gerbil held by girl

The vast majority of gerbils that trust their owners will allow them to handle them. Your gerbil will appear at ease when sitting on the palms of your hands. If it likes you, it may produce a purring noise. The activity level of gerbils is a problem that many owners encounter. Gerbils are perpetually active, exploring, excavating, and foraging for food. Not all gerbils enjoy sitting stationary in an individual’s hand.

Nevertheless, this does not always imply that your gerbil dislikes you. It may also indicate that your gerbil is more active than average gerbils. If so, appreciate the time you get to hold your pet, but let it run free when it desires.

Does a gerbil like to cuddle?

Even some gerbils that enjoy affection do not enjoy being cuddled. This is because hugging goes beyond simply petting and holding.

When you cuddle your gerbil, gently squeeze it and hold it tightly. Unfortunately, many owners are unaware of their power. They may believe they are gentle, yet the small creature they hold may feel threatened or even suffocated.

Typically, a new owner will begin petting the gerbil immediately after acquiring it. If they are initially powerful, the gerbil will grow to dislike hugging. Even if the animal trusts its owner in other ways, it will never like being tightly handled.

However, numerous gerbils enjoy cuddling. Additionally, they appear to like the warmth of their owners and affectionate patting. Therefore, before cuddling your gerbil, ensure that it is comfy.

How Much Attention Do Gerbils Require?

In the wild and captivity, gerbils like the company of other gerbils. Consequently, they have also learned to appreciate spending time with others. Gerbils require special care when maintained as pets. It would help if you spent some time with your pet daily. This has numerous advantages:

  • Letting your gerbil out of its cage allows for exercise. Gerbils cannot exercise in a small enclosure without exercise wheels.
  • It gives your gerbil the ability to explore. Curiosity makes gerbils susceptible to boredom in their habitats.
  • It fosters confidence between you and your pet. Through consistent interaction, your gerbil will learn that you pose no threat. You can only encourage your gerbil to enjoy close contact by doing so.

This is particularly true if your gerbil resides alone. Although gerbils should be housed in groups, many owners do not value this or cannot care for more than one pet. If so, you must spend time with your pet to prevent it from being lonely and miserable.

How to Know If Your Gerbil Enjoys Affection

Gerbils that despise affection or being close to humans will immediately let you know. The first thing an unpleasant gerbil will do is attempt to escape. If you insist, your gerbil may bite you if you approach too close. Their behavior and noises can also identify a gerbil who enjoys affection. Gerbils purr to express their happiness. This sound is comparable to that of a cat, except that the gerbil’s teeth produce it.

gerbil on a girl's book

The majority of gerbils that purr only do so when they are held, according to their owners. You will have the gerbil still in your hands while you stroke its back. You will feel vibrations in your pet’s feet, corresponding to its purring. Additionally, your gerbil may be eager to meet you and loving with you. Excitement is exhibited in various ways. Your gerbil will become energetic, running and standing on its hind legs while hopping.

Additionally, it will make repetitive yipping sounds. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America states that gerbils utilize sound to communicate. When directed at you, these behaviors indicate that your gerbil cannot wait to see you, meaning it enjoys spending time with you.


Gerbils are very social animals and enjoy being around people. Although they are naturally skittish, this can be easily overcome with patience and gentle care. The best way to approach a gerbil is to let it sniff you and pick it up. After that, all you need to do is pet, scritch, cradle, or let it sit in your shirt while you play with a string toy.