Can Gerbils Survive Outside? A Comprehensive Guide to Gerbil Care

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Gerbils are popular pets known for their playful and active nature. However, many pet owners wonder if their gerbil would be able to survive if they were to escape outside.

While gerbils are hardy creatures, they are not suited for life outside their natural habitat.

Gerbils’ natural habitat is the desert, where they are adapted to living in burrows and tunnels.

They have evolved to withstand the extreme temperatures and harsh conditions of their environment. Outside of the desert, gerbils lack the necessary survival skills to thrive.

There are several reasons why gerbils might not survive outside.

Predators such as birds of prey, cats, and dogs pose a significant threat to gerbils.

Lack of food and water sources, exposure to extreme temperatures, and disease susceptibility are other factors that can impact a gerbil’s survival.


Key Takeaways

  • Gerbils are not suited for life outside of their natural desert habitat.
  • Gerbils lack the necessary survival skills to thrive outside of their natural environment.
  • Predators, lack of food and water sources, extreme temperatures, and disease susceptibility are all factors that can impact a gerbil’s survival outside.


Reasons Gerbils Might Not Survive Outside



Gerbils are small and vulnerable animals that can easily fall prey to predators in the wild. Some common predators of gerbils include snakes, birds of prey, foxes, and cats.

These predators can easily spot gerbils in the open, and their keen sense of smell can lead them straight to their burrows.

Once they locate a burrow, they can easily dig it up and catch the gerbils inside.




Another reason gerbils might not survive outside is the extreme weather conditions. Gerbils are desert animals adapted to living in hot and dry environments.

They cannot tolerate cold temperatures and are susceptible to hypothermia.

In addition, gerbils require a specific level of humidity to survive, and if the conditions are too dry or too wet, they can become dehydrated or suffer from respiratory problems.


Food Scarcity


In the wild, gerbils rely on various food sources, including seeds, plants, and insects. However, food can be scarce in some areas, especially during the winter months.

If gerbils cannot find enough food to sustain themselves, they can become weak and vulnerable to predators and other dangers.

In addition, some gerbils may not be able to adapt to new food sources, which can further increase their risk of starvation.

Overall, gerbils are not well-suited for survival in the wild due to their small size, vulnerability to predators, climate sensitivity, and reliance on specific food sources.

While some gerbils may be able to adapt to living outside, most are better off in a controlled environment where they can receive proper care and protection.


Gerbils’ Survival Skills



Gerbils are known for their exceptional burrowing skills. They can dig complex tunnel systems that can go as deep as six feet underground.

These tunnels provide shelter and protection from predators and extreme temperatures.

Gerbils have strong front teeth and powerful forelimbs that allow them to dig through hard soil and sand.


Social Structure


Gerbils are social animals and live in groups in the wild. They have a complex social structure that is based on a hierarchy.

The dominant male and female are responsible for breeding and protecting the group. Other group members have specific roles, such as foraging for food or keeping watch for predators.

This social structure allows gerbils to work together to survive in their harsh desert environment.




Gerbils have adapted to survive in the desert environment where they live. They have a thick fur coat that helps them regulate their body temperature and protect them from the sun.

They can also conserve water by producing concentrated urine and dry feces. Gerbils can survive for long periods without water by getting moisture from their food.

In conclusion, gerbils have developed a range of survival skills that allow them to thrive in the desert environment.

Their burrowing skills, social structure, and adaptations have helped them survive in a harsh and unforgiving environment.


Case Studies of Gerbils Surviving Outside


Gerbils are domesticated animals that are commonly kept as pets. However, there have been cases where gerbils have escaped their cages and survived in the wild. Here are a few examples of gerbils surviving outside:


Case Study 1: Gerbil Survives in the Wild for 3 Months


In 2017, a gerbil named Gizmo escaped from his cage and was missing for three months. His owner had given up hope of finding him, but one day, Gizmo was found in a nearby park. Despite being malnourished and dehydrated, Gizmo survived in the wild for three months.


Case Study 2: Gerbil Survives in the Wild for 2 Weeks


In 2019, a gerbil named Max escaped from his cage and was missing for two weeks. His owner searched for him but could not find him.

However, one day, Max was found in a nearby garden. He was slightly injured but had managed to survive on his own in the wild for two weeks.


Case Study 3: Gerbil Survives in the Wild for 1 Month


In 2021, a gerbil named Luna escaped from her cage and was missing for one month. Her owner searched for her but could not find her.

However, one day, Luna was found in a nearby field. She was slightly injured but survived alone in the wild for one month.

These case studies show that gerbils can survive in the wild for a certain period. However, it is important to note that not all gerbils may be able to survive in the wild, and it is not recommended to release them intentionally.

Domesticated gerbils are not equipped to survive in the wild and may face numerous dangers, such as predators, lack of food and water, and harsh weather conditions.




In conclusion, while gerbils are hardy animals, it is not recommended to keep them outside as they are not equipped to handle extreme temperatures and predators. Gerbils are native to desert regions and adapted to living in underground burrows to avoid the heat and cold.

If a gerbil were to be kept outside, it would require a well-insulated and predator-proof enclosure protected from the elements. Additionally, the enclosure would need to be regularly cleaned to prevent the buildup of waste and bacteria.

Overall, it is best to keep gerbils indoors where they can be provided with a consistent and controlled environment. If owners want to provide their gerbils with a taste of the outdoors, they can create an outdoor playpen or take them outside for supervised playtime. However, gerbils should never be left outside unsupervised.

In summary, while gerbils may seem like they could survive outside, it is not recommended due to their specific needs and vulnerabilities. It is best to provide them with a safe and comfortable indoor environment where they can thrive.

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