What is a Female Gerbil Called? How is it Different From a Male?


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It is necessary to know the gender of a gerbil while purchasing one. This is even more important if you intend to have more than one pet gerbil at home. Accidentally purchasing one female and one male gerbil may lead to having unwanted gerbil pups.

The distinctions between female and male gerbils are not as evident as in the case of many other animals. The most recommended way to not commit this mistake is to learn how to detect its sex yourself or procure it from a breeder. A little practice makes sex detection relatively simple.

Before understanding how a male and female gerbil is different from each other, let us know what is a female gerbil called? A female gerbil is known as a doe while its male version is called a buck. Most gerbil lovers, however, refer to them simply as males and females. Their babies are known as pups.

You can do their sexing at any age. However, their sexing is more convenient when they are juveniles. There are some criteria to tell whether it is a male or a female gerbil, which we will discuss soon.

However, it is also important to know that females and male gerbils kept together will be mating when they are just 3-month-old. It is for this crucial reason why keeping couples of the same sex is a preferred choice.

For instance, females of one of its species called Shaw’s Jirds happen to be extremely territorial. They are popular as pets in the United States of America. The trait makes these female gerbils quite aggressive, mostly towards other gerbils of the same gender. So, it is recommended to keep two male gerbils together. Alternatively, keep a separate cage in hand, if there is too much fighting.

Differences between Male and Female Gerbils

Now that you know what is a female gerbil called, you should know whether they are female or male in the first place. It is highly recommended if you wish to breed gerbils. “Sexing” is the process of detecting distinctions between girl and boy gerbils.

Sexual dimorphism is the term used to refer to the distinction between females and males of any species. It also signifies that both genders have different shapes, sizes, as well as, different organs. Their colors or patterns may be also different from one another.

As we mentioned earlier, sexual dimorphism is not so evident in gerbils. Female and male gerbils have the same coats. It also means you have to slightly closer to know the difference.

These male gerbils feature a noticeable bulging on their tails. Now, it is quite noticeable when they are only 4-week-old. So, you can easily detect the distinction between females and males. The two openings present at the base of the tail are closer together in male gerbils as compared to the females.

Size of male and female gerbil

When a gerbil is fully grown, its average length is about 4 inches or so. However, an additional 4 inches is added to their overall size because of the tail. The distinction between a female and a male is quite pronounced because of their sizes.

It is not so obvious with gerbils though males have a slightly bigger size than females. In case you have many male and female gerbils in the same cage, you can observe the difference.

The difference, though, is not significant enough to definitely tell between females and males. While a large gerbil is usually a male, it can be a female as well. A similar logic is also applicable to small gerbils as they can be female or male.

There is a difference in size as male gerbils have to fight a lot more than females. It does not mean females do not fight. However, male gerbils fight more frequently over their mating rights. This has a direct impact on the genes that are transmitted to their next generation. Thus, natural selection is the cause for male gerbils being bigger.

Sexual distinctions between male and female gerbils

Male and female gerbils primarily differ because of their sexual organs. Female gerbils have a vagina similar to other animals. On the other hand, male gerbils have a scrotum and a penis.

Additionally, female gerbils have certain internal organs, which help to create and develop their babies or pups. These organs include a womb inside which the babies are developed and an ovary that produces eggs.

Male gerbils do not have these internal organs. Studies claim they have testes to produce sperms. If the testes are larger, they can produce more sperms. That is the reason why they are bigger in fully-grown gerbils.

However, you cannot see these differences so easily as most of the distinctions are internal. You have to dissect your pet to see these internal organs. So, this is not obviously a desirable choice.

Behavioral differences between male and female gerbils

Female and male gerbils exhibit subtle differences in their behaviors. Many gerbil owners feel that the male ones are more docile and friendlier as compared to the females.

The camaraderie is observed when the owner spends time with their gerbils. It is observed that males are less nippy and their comfort level is higher when they are held. They are also better housemates as compared to the females as fighting is less when males are put together separately.

However, even this method is not 100 percent definitive to sex a gerbil. It is not compulsory that if a gerbil is friendly, it has to be a male. Also, an unfriendly gerbil is not essentially a female. Yet, the difference in their behavior can act as a clue towards their gender.

How to detect a baby gerbil’s sex

Place the gerbil in the left hand and make sure its face is away from you. Take the base of its tail gently between your forefinger and thumb and lift it. You can detect some of the signs of its gender while doing so.

While you are sexing a baby gerbil, make sure that you handle it in a manner so that it does not become nervous. The baby gerbil will be possibly in your palm. However, if your tiny pet does not like it when you are trying to lift it by its tail, you may try holding it around the waist.

Male gerbils do not have nipples unlike females

You may find it difficult to see the nipples of your gerbils if they are fully covered in fur. However, if you are sexing a pup, they can be easily seen. A female gerbil has 8 nipples. There are 4 of them between their rear and front legs. The easiest nipples to identify are the front two. These are located between their 2 front legs and their location is similar to that of a human. On the other hand, male gerbils do not have nipples at all. So, when you notice two slightly dark, tiny dots here, it is a definitive sign of being a female.

It is one of the simplest tactics for sexing a juvenile gerbil as the difference is easy to notice. In adult gerbils though, doing so can be tough because of the fur.

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Check the scrotum of your gerbil

Only a male has the scrotum that has the testes. In some animals, the scrotum is attached closer to the bodies as compared to others. However, it is closely attached in the case of gerbils. The scrotum looks like a tiny lump located that the base of a male gerbil’s tail. The organ is missing in female gerbils and so it is one of the major distinctions to search for.

The organ is even more obvious when you examine a juvenile gerbil as it has a shorter fur. However, the scrotum is larger in fully-grown gerbils. So, it is still possible to sex a grown-up gerbil in this manner. The tiny bulge will appear when your gerbil is around 6-week old.

Check the Urethra and anus of your gerbil

You should first check the gap between the anus and urethra of your gerbil. While they wee from their urethra, pooing is done from the anus. It is imperative to note that male gerbil, as well as, their female counterparts have an anus and a urethra. The structure of their urethra and pelvis are the same as in other rodents.

Yet, there is a significant distinction between the two genders here. It is what a vet checks to know whether your gerbil is female or male. In grown-up male gerbils, the distance between the urethra and anus is about half an inch. On the other hand, the distance between these two parts is closer in females. Rather, these two will be just next to one another in females.

Checking the scent gland for sexing gerbils

Male gerbils have slightly larger scent glands as compared to their female counterparts. It is tough to detect unless you can directly compare 2 gerbils together. The technique is most suitable with adult gerbils. These glands cannot be easily spotted in juvenile gerbils.

When is the best time for sexing gerbils?

It is recommended that you try to detect a gerbil’s sex as soon as it is born. Ideally, seven days or so is the perfect time to check its sex. It is also fine to identify their gender between the 1st and 2nd week after they are born. Sexing a gerbil becomes tougher at any point after this period.

The reason why we are advising to check the sex early is that it is simpler to identify its gender when the fur is missing. Your tiny pet’s coat starts filling out when it is around 2-week-old. However, you can still see through the developing fur to notice what you have to.

As mentioned earlier, there are certain signs of gender, which can be only seen when the gerbil is grown-up. One such factor is the scrotum, which develops fully in grown-up gerbils and not in pups. It also signifies that sexing of your gerbils can be done at any age.

Comparative differences between gerbil are also a technique to identify their genders. One of the best ways to do so is when your pet gerbil has a litter of 5-6. You can compare all these pups together. At the same time, we have covered various possible ways to differentiate a male gerbil from a female counterpart in this article.


We discussed not only what is a female gerbil called but also the various possible ways to differentiate between male and female gerbils in this article. The differentiation is relevant and important in case you are choosing your pets in a store. It is always better to buy a pair, which is of the same gender. On the other hand, if you choose wrongly, you may end up having lots of pups to rehome within a short period.

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