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Gerbils & Hamsters/1 gerbil died, 1 left but he's 5 yrs old,.... so have a ? please


I'm the mom and my kids are devasted.  Smokie died yesterday and Brownie is left.  They were brothers and we got them at 26 days old 5 years ago. Brownie appears perfect.... smokie had been lethargic for days so as the mom, I knew the end was coming. Still didn't prepare kids or me.

Don't want to introduce another gerbil,  but wondering what we can do help brownie adjust.  He's always been the "don't hold me" gerbil compared to smokie. He doesn't bite and kids played with them in tub, make huts, tube forts, etc. But brownie has always wanted back in his cage whereas smokie (the one that died) was the one that put up with the kids, escaped from the cage, etc.....

I can tell brownie still thinks that smokie is being played with, escaped again - HA! and will just reappear.  

Any suggestions or ideas to help brownie live out the rest of his life as happy as possible (alone) is much appreciated!!

Thank you!


Hi Kara

Thanks for your question. I'm sorry to hear about your gerbil. It is difficult when one dies as the other can pine for them but usually if you thoroughly clean the cage and any toys a couple of times to try and get rid  of  the other gerbils scent this should help. Usually gerbils forget siblings after 5 -10 days - this is why you often can't reintroduce them to each other if you have had to separate them due to illness.

Try to make a real fuss of your gerbil - even if you can't handle him he will still recognise your voice and this will give some comfort. Give him treats of sunflower seeds etc and plenty of things to do - ie lots of cardboard to shred so he doesn't get bored. Hopefully this will help.


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Sheila Adby


Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is


I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website:

Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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