The following section is to provide information on:

The moulting process of a Nutmeg, and how to distinguish this colour from a Dark Eyed Honey. Often these two colours are mixed up when the Gerbil is young, hopefully a development page will help show you the differences by comparing the two colours next to eachother.

The Development process of a Nutmeg pup.

When young Nutmeg and Dark Eyed Honey pups look very similar, there are a few ways to distinguish between the two different colours, but for someone who has never bred either colours before it can be difficult.

A Nutmeg starts out as a lovely deep orange colour, and once around 6 weeks old it begins the moulting process which doesn't finish until they are 9-10 weeks old. Until you have a Nutmeg next to a DEH, or wait until moulting age it is easy to get confused over which colour you might have, so I have put together a guide that illustrates what the pups will look like.

On with the guide...

A pile of 4 day old pups, just beginning to get their fur though. Compare the darkness of the skin between the pup with its back to us and the pup on its side. The Nutmeg is the one showing its back, you can also see a dark orange tint coming through from the fur. The pup on its side is a DEH, the skin pigment is lighter, and the fur is more of a cream colour when it first comes through.


Again, you can see the fur coming through, they have an orange tint to them, which will be much more apparent over the next couple of days.

Day 5 pups, the fur is through more, it is much more obvious which pups are Nutmeg and which are DEH.

Can you tell which pup is the DEH and which two are Nutmegs?

The two pups on the outside are Nutmegs and the pup in the middle is a DEH. The pup on the left has a very definate tangy orange to it, around the head and back. The pup on the outside right, is not so obvious, but the pigment to its back is darker than that of the Gerbil in the middle.

Which pup is the DEH in this pile?

This is much more obvious, look just how tangy the orange is on the head of the two pups on the outside edges. Their orange is much deeper than that of the Gerbil in the centre.


Day 7

The differences between Nutmeg and DEH are now easily distinguishable. The gerbil on the left is a Nutmeg, and the DEH is on the right. The Nutmeg has a very tangy orange colour, which continues down the side of the body to the legs, which you can see coming through now in the photo below. A DEH on the other hand is a creamy, pastel orange colour, and they will have a white tummy, so the orange does not continue down the body and will stop at the sides with white fur coming through.


The Nutmeg is on the right, and the DEH on the left, see the difference in shade? You can also see the white coming through on the DEH's sides and feet.


Which colours are which??

The two Nutmegs are on the top and the other is on its back trying to turn over, the DEH is partially underneath the Nutmeg on its back, it has a lovely pastel orange shade to it.

Day 8

Now a lot of the fur is through, you should know which colour you have just by looking at the colour of the tummy of the Gerbil pup.

Which colour is which??

DEH on the left, Nutmeg on the right.

Come on, what are the colours of these Gerbil pups?

Nutmeg on the left at the back.

DEH in the middle with its back to us.

Nutmeg at the bottom of the pile.

28 Days

Here are a number of photos for you to guess the colours of, go on... Can you tell the differences?




1) Nutmeg pup - A tangy deep orange colour, colour extends down to the stomach, no white tummy.

2) Nutmeg pup - Again, tnagy orange, no white tummy.

3) Nutmeg, DEH and Nutmeg - Nutmeg on the left, deep colour, solid coloured tummy. DEH in the middle, creamy orange, white down the sides. Nutmeg right end, deep colour, solid tummy.

4) Nutmeg in the background, DEH in foreground - DEH has white on its sides and the colour is a pastel creamy orange compared to the Nutmeg in the background.

Nutmeg moult

The following section aims to show the moulting process of a Nutmeg Gerbil, a fantastic spectacle to see!

At around 6 weeks old your Nutmeg pup will begin the first stages of moulting, first the underfur will begin to darken, this might not be as noticable but the colour begins to dull slightly and then you begin to see, what can only be described as dark lines across the body - almost like brindling in mice, dogs, guinea pigs etc. It isn't until around a week later that the moult actually begins - this is where old hair is replaced by new hair, and this time the colour change is very dramatic!

These new hairs will have a large area of black ticking on the tips of each strand, the beautiful orange is still there, but lower down the strand of hair, so if you blow on the fur, you can see the tangy orange underneath.

Then at around 8 weeks old the process should totally be over - the whole thing taking 2-3 weeks.

Here we are at Day 28, the top Gerbil is a Dark Eyed Honey and the bottom is a Nutmeg. We can see a different in the shade of colour, the DEH is lighter and has white sides, where the Nutmeg has a solid tummy and the orange is a deeper more tangy colour.


Day 39

The underfur to the Nutmeg is begining to come through, the fur around the nose, eyes and arms are begging to get more dull...

The nose of the Nutmeg below is begining to get dark, Nutmegs have dark noses, almost like a colourpoint Gerbil and the darker the nose then the better they will do in show. The nose and arms are the first areas to begin to darken.

Day 41

We can start to see lines on the arms of the Nutmegs, and the stomachs are beginning to darken.

In the photo below, see the front leg, there's a line going across it, also see how 'dirty' the mouth area is looking.

The brindling lines on the Nutmeg below is quite obvious, they are all around the sides and extending down to the back legs.

Day 43

Showing more darkening of the underfur on the sides, feet and tail.

Day 48

Here, we can see the process is definately underway now. The nose is very dark, and looking at the sides of the body we can see that the hair is being fully replaced now. The cheeks are moulting and will move over the face and finish at the nape of the neck.

Day 50

Comparing a Nutmeg next to a Dark Eyed Honey. Now, the difference is very obvious and there's almost no chance of mistaking the two anymore.

Day 53

The whole process is almost complete, just the head still has this orange 'cap' left.

Here we can see how most of the body has moulted, with just the top of the head left orange.

Day 63

The process is complete, your Gerbil is now its full adult colour, it will not go through the same kind of moult again - I hope you didn't miss yours moulting!