Can Gerbils Change Color? Exploring the Possibility of Color Change in Gerbils

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Gerbils are small, furry creatures that make great pets. They are known for their friendly personalities and ability to adapt to different environments.

One of the most exciting things about gerbils is their natural coloring. While some people believe that gerbils can change color, others are unsure.

Gerbils and Their Natural Colors Gerbils come in various colors, including white, black, grey, brown, and even spotted or striped varieties.

The gerbil’s genetics determine these colors and are usually fixed for the animal’s life. However, some gerbils may exhibit slight changes in color due to environmental factors, such as changes in diet or exposure to sunlight.

Color Changing in Gerbils While gerbils can exhibit slight color changes, they cannot change their entire coat color.

Depending on the season or diet, some gerbils may appear lighter or darker, but this is not a true color change.

If you notice a sudden, drastic change in your gerbil’s coat color, it may indicate illness or stress. In these cases, it is essential to consult a veterinarian to ensure your pet’s health and well-being.


Key Takeaways

  • Gerbils come in a range of natural colors determined by their genetics.
  • Gerbils may exhibit slight changes in color due to environmental factors, such as diet or sunlight exposure.
  • Drastic changes in coat color may be a sign of illness or stress and should be addressed by a veterinarian.

Color Changing in Gerbils


Gerbils are fascinating creatures that can change their coat color. This phenomenon is known as “molting” and is a natural process in all gerbils.

The process of molting is when gerbils shed their old fur and grow new ones. During this time, their coat color may change.

The color change is a result of the new fur growing in. The new fur may be a different color than the old fur, resulting in a change in appearance.

This change is more noticeable in some gerbils than others, depending on the color of their fur.

For example, a gerbil with a white coat may have a more noticeable color change than a darker coat.

It is important to note that the color change is not sudden. It occurs gradually over some time. The duration of the molting process varies from gerbil to gerbil, but it usually takes a few weeks to complete.

In addition to molting, gerbils may change color due to environmental factors. For example, if a gerbil is exposed to sunlight for an extended period, its fur may become lighter in color.

Similarly, if a gerbil is kept in a dark environment, its fur may become darker.

In conclusion, gerbils can change their coat color due to the natural process of molting and environmental factors.

While the color change may not be sudden or drastic, it is interesting to observe these fascinating creatures.


Factors Influencing Color Change



Gerbils can change color as they age. Young gerbils may have a lighter or different color coat than older gerbils.

This is because the fur of a gerbil can darken or lighten over time. Some gerbils may also develop white hairs as they age, making their coat speckled.


Diet can also affect the color of a gerbil’s coat. Gerbils fed a diet high in carotenoids, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, may have a brighter, more vibrant coat color.

On the other hand, gerbils fed a diet low in carotenoids may have a duller coat color.


The environment in which a gerbil lives can also affect its coat color. Gerbils exposed to sunlight or UV light may have a darker coat color than gerbils kept in a darker environment.

Additionally, gerbils exposed to extreme temperatures may also experience changes in their coat color.

Overall, several factors can influence the color of a gerbil’s coat.

While some of these factors are beyond a gerbil owner’s control, providing a healthy diet and a comfortable living environment can help ensure that a gerbil’s coat remains healthy and vibrant.


Genetics and Color Change


Gerbils are known for their striking coat colors, and it’s not uncommon for owners to wonder if their pet’s fur can change color over time.

While gerbils do not change their coat color naturally, there are some instances where their fur may appear to change.

The color of a gerbil’s fur is determined by genetics. Two pigments contribute to coat color: eumelanin, which produces black and brown colors, and phaeomelanin, which has red and yellow colors.

Combining these pigments and their distribution across the hair shafts determines the final coat color.

However, environmental factors can also affect how a gerbil’s coat color appears. For example, exposure to sunlight can cause the fur to bleach or lighten, making it seem a different color.

Additionally, poor diet or stress can affect the quality of the fur, making it appear dull or faded.

It’s also important to note that some coat colors are more prone to fading than others. For example, black gerbils are more likely to experience fading or bleaching than other colors.

In summary, while gerbils do not naturally change color, their coat color can appear to change due to environmental factors.

The underlying genetics of coat color remain the same, but factors such as sunlight and diet can affect how the fur appears.


Color Change and Health Issues


Gerbils are known for their ability to change their coat color as they age. However, sudden or drastic changes in color can be a sign of health issues.

One common cause of color change is stress. Stressed gerbils may develop a lighter coat color or patches of missing fur.

Various factors, including environmental changes, lack of exercise, or illness, can cause this. Identifying and addressing the source of stress is essential to prevent further health problems.

Another health issue that can cause color change is a fungal infection. This can cause patches of fur to turn white or gray. Treatment typically involves antifungal medication and improving the gerbil’s living conditions to prevent reinfection.

Sometimes, color change may be a sign of a genetic condition. For example, some gerbils may develop a white coat due to a recessive gene.

While this is not necessarily a health issue, monitoring the gerbil’s health and behavior for other signs of illness is essential.

Overall, while the color change in gerbils is a natural occurrence, sudden or drastic changes should be monitored closely to ensure the health and well-being of the animal.


Gerbils and Their Natural Colors


Gerbils are small, furry rodents that come in various natural colors. These colors range from sandy brown to black, including rare shades like blue and lilac.

Gerbils have a unique coat made up of guard hairs and underfur, giving them their distinctive appearance.

When it comes to the genetics of gerbil coat colors, a few factors are at play. One of the most important is the presence of the agouti gene, which determines whether a gerbil’s coat will be banded or solid.

Gerbils with the agouti gene will have a banded coat, while those without it will have a solid coat.

Another factor is the presence of the black or brown gene, which determines the base color of a gerbil’s coat. Gerbils with the black gene will have a darker coat, while those with the brown gene will have a lighter coat.

Overall, the natural colors of gerbils are determined by a combination of genetics and environmental factors.

While some breeders may attempt to create new colors through selective breeding, it is essential to remember that these colors may not be natural or healthy for the gerbil. As always, it is best to stick with the natural colors of these fascinating little creatures.




In conclusion, while gerbils can change color, it is not common and is usually due to a genetic mutation. Gerbils are typically born with a set color that will remain consistent throughout their life. However, their fur can appear lighter or darker depending on the lighting conditions or diet.

It is important to note that while some breeders may claim to have gerbils that can change color, it is likely due to selective breeding and not a natural occurrence. Additionally, it is essential to avoid purchasing gerbils bred for unusual or exaggerated coat colors, which can lead to health problems and reduced lifespan.

Overall, gerbils are fascinating creatures with various unique traits and behaviors. While their coat color may not change, their playful and social nature makes them a popular pet choice for many.


Frequently Asked Questions


What are the different colors of gerbils?

Gerbils come in various colors, including black, white, gray, brown, and combinations of these colors. Some gerbils also have spots or stripes.

What is the most common color for gerbils?

The most common color for gerbils is brown. This is because many gerbils are descended from wild Mongolian, typically brown gerbils.

Can gerbils change color as they age?

Gerbils do not typically change color as they age. However, some gerbils may appear to change color due to changes in lighting or other environmental factors.

Are there any rare colors of gerbils?

There are some rare colors of gerbils, such as albino or all-black gerbils. However, these colors are not common in most pet stores.

What is the genetic basis for gerbil color?

The genetic basis for gerbil color is complex and not fully understood. However, it is known that different genes control different aspects of color, such as the presence of stripes or spots.

Do wild gerbils have different colors than domesticated ones?

Wild gerbils may have slightly different colors than domesticated ones as they have evolved to blend in with their natural habitats. However, many domesticated gerbils are descended from wild gerbils with similar coloration.

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