Assuming you have seen your pair mate, you should now be preparing and working out a date when to expect the pups to arrive.

The female will require extra protein and calcium, as well as extra food in general. She will also drink a lot more water than normal, especially in the later stages of pregnancy. Foods such as cheese, cooked plain chicken, and natural yoghurt are good. It is also a good idea to use dried dog or cat biscuits, especially the dried milk biscuits. I feed all my gerbils including those not pregnant dried dog biscuits, the box has a mix, some with heart, oil, milk etc. So far my pregnant females have done great, and have a lovely shiny, soft and sleek coat.

You may find that the female may not want some of the foods advised, keep on trying. One day she may not want it and the next she will. I found Sienna was the same, she will take it if she needs it.

Now you have the food sorted out, you need to try and work out when she will be giving birth. Well, in my experience it has always been on the 26th day. Which on some websites is past the length of time they say to expect the birth. I've read plenty of sites in my time and I would say the average seems to be 22-26 days. So expect anything from day 21 to perhaps day 27 or 28. Should you already have a litter, then the female will delay the birth of the next litter until the first are weaned and ready to leave. This delay can be anywhere from 33 days to 45. So far, I am on my second litter, and Sienna is on day 39 already and no signs of babies yet! She is massive, but doesn't seem to want to drop them just yet ;)

Below are some photos of a quite heavily pregnant Gerbil. You can quite obviously see the lumps where the pups are on her sides. These photos were taking of Roma before her second litter, beginning from 4 days before right down to one day before the birth and then after, when she is obviously not pregnant at all.

0 days pregnant.

4 days before birth. Bumps on the sides are obvious.

3 Days before birth. Tummy bump obvious.

3 Days before birth. Tummy hanging down.

3 Day before birth. Tummy hanging and bumps on sides, much wider than usual.

3 Days before birth. Tummy hanging down.

2 Days before birth. A back view, see how wide she is, and the massive bumps on her sides.

2 Days before birth.

1 Day before birth.

The Birth

You will probably notice a couple of days before the female gives birth that her tummy will look larger, there will be a bump... Some will have a massive, very noticable bump and others sometimes barely even show that they are pregnant.

The females' scent gland may also be more promenant and her nipples easily seen when stood on hind legs.

She will also begin to build a nest, perhaps she will build a lot and repeatedly get rid of it until the actual birth.

Once she has gone into labour, the male will most likely keep away, and wait until she is finished and he will then attempt to mate with her. YES, MATE WITH HER. Gerbils mate after birth, sometimes straight away other times within a couple of hours or so.

The female may throw the male out of the nest completely, he will only be allowed to return once she allows him to (poor thing)

Labour can last upto a few hours, depending on the female. The female may have meal breaks inbetween pups with each pup coming within 5 or 10 mintues of eachother.

The female will normally give birth in the evening, although it is not uncommon for her to do so in the early morning or late afternoon/early evening.

Try to leave her in peace, give her some time before you try disturbing her. Gerbils are not too fussy about humans touching their pups. But to be sure your female is ok with it, try putting your hand in the tank, near the nest but not actually inside and see how the mother reacts. If she doesn't want you there, she will let you know! The males can also be defensive over the pups, so watch out for dad too ;)

Gerbils can have up to 10 pups, with 4-6 being around the average.

If the female only has 1 or 2 pups, sadly it is unlikely that they will survive so try not to get too attached if they should die or 'disappear'. The reason the pups are likely to die is due to the fact that they will not stimulate the mother enough to keep her producing milk so it will soon stop - thus baby dies. I have heard of two pups surviving though, so there is some hope!

Just two pups so far

Mum tries to get another pup out...


All pups are born, see the dark purple one, this has literally just been born, it will turn pink later.