Fat-Tailed Gerbil (Fat-Tailed Gerbil or Fat-Tailed Mouse) information

fat-tailed gerbil The Fat-tailed Gerbil (Pachyuromys duprasi) is also called Fat-tailed Mouse or Fat-tailed Gerbil. They are desert animals native to the northern part of the Sahara. The Fat-tailed Gerbil is a very striking animal, with its round body, pointed snout and thick bald tail.

Head-torso length : up to 10 - 14 cm
Body weight : 45 grams
Life expectancy : 3 - 7 years

Fat-tailed gerbils are twilight and nocturnal, meaning they are most active in the evening, night and early morning. However, in captivity they are also regularly awake during the day.

Gerbils don't have necks

Tame and familiarize yourself with the Fat-tailed Gerbil

Always read carefully before you decide to get a fat-tailed gerbil. They are very nice pets that are regularly awake, so that they can also be seen during the day. Although the Fat-Tailed Gerbil looks very sweet and cuddly, he does not always like to cuddle and to be picked up, he finds it very scary in the beginning. Because the animals do not see depth, they can run off your hand if they are startled. It is therefore important that there is always a parent present who can help and support when children handle the animals.

A new resident should be approached calmly, especially in the first time. The animal must first become familiar with its own enclosure and feel safe in it before it dares to approach people. Fat-tailed gerbils are quite shy animals that take time to get used to. Give the animal time and try to make contact calmly by talking to the Gerbil. Handing over some treats often also works well to gain the trust of the animals. They let the picking come over them, as it were, they don't resist.

Tip! Fat-tailed gerbils love dried mealworms

Housing of the Fat-tailed Gerbil

Fat-tailed gerbils need a spacious enclosure of at least 100 x 50 cm ( LICG ). A good enclosure gives the animals the opportunity to dig, but there must also be a sand section of at least 1/3 of the enclosure. In the wild Fat-tailed Gerbils build beautiful tunnels and they would like to continue to do so in captivity. A castle in the wild is at a depth of at least 1 to 2 meters and is about 1 meter long. The depth of the castle depends on the ambient temperature. When the temperature rises, the gerbil digs deeper underground to reach the cool earth, a kind of natural air conditioning.

Fat-tailed gerbils are desert dwellers, which means that they also need a large section of sand in their enclosure that is filled with bathing sand in the form of Chinchilla sand. The animals quickly develop a greasy coat, which in the wild offers protection against environmental influences such as temperature and dry air. In our house, the Gerbils must always have a sandbox filled with chinchilla sand so that they can bathe as needed. If Fat-tailed Gerbils cannot bathe in sand, their fur will become very oily within a few days and a yeast infection may develop.

hamsterscaping info Hamsterscaping is therefore also very nice for Fat-tailed gerbils.

At our house this translates into a spacious stay with digging possibilities and sand part! A terrarium is the best choice because of its closed nature. It is important that a terrarium allows good ventilation, so preferably has two grids (top and bottom). This is especially important in summer when temperatures rise above 25°C.

House for a Fat-tailed Gerbil

Fat-tailed gerbils are lucky! because almost all houses made for hamsters are a good size for this gerbil species. Fat-tailed gerbils are prey animals and do not like to walk open and naked through the enclosure, if they come across a shelter now and then they already feel a lot safer. They love tunnels under the ground, for example a pipe system made of terracotta. Our advice is therefore to have at least two houses for the gerbil. A house where the gerbil can sleep and another where he can hide.

Running wheel for a Fat-tailed gerbil

The gerbil running wheel is a very important part of the furnishing of the gerbil enclosure. Gerbils are active animals that like to run, often at night. This is because they naturally run a lot at night in search of food. This is, as it were, in their DNA. In addition, scientific research has shown that running on a running wheel makes gerbils happy, digestion is promoted and the animals in general remain in good condition.

A running wheel for a Thick-tailed Gerbil must have a diameter of at least 28 cm and consist of a closed running surface.

Ground cover for the Fat-tailed Gerbil

A sand part is important for the Fat-tailed Gerbil, in addition, it is important that the ground cover for Gerbils can be dug, i.e. that they can make tunnels and burrows in it, which preferably remain standing. This can be achieved by choosing ground cover that is digable in itself or by mixing ground cover to make it digable. Examples of excavatable ground covers are for instance the Humus and the Holenzand , but also Cotton & Cotton . A nice mix is, for example, the mix of Cotton & Hemp Fiber , Cotton & Wood Fiber or a mix of Wood Fiber, Hemp Fiber and Hay. Ground covers such as Back 2 Nature are not suitable because the animals cannot dig in them. The ideal height of the digging part is between 20 and 30 cm.

Sand bath for Fat-tailed gerbils

Fat-tailed gerbils not only enjoy regular sand baths , but they really need it, as we have already described above. The ideal distribution of the enclosure is 1/3 sand and the rest a digable ground cover. Sand has a degreasing effect and therefore also has a cooling effect. Because sand is degreasing, it also has a drying effect. Animals with skin problems should therefore not be given a sand bath. If the skin dries out too much because of the sand, it can start to itch, causing the animals to bathe even more. It is therefore important to keep an eye on the bathing behavior of the Gerbils and to remove the sandbox if there are signs of skin problems (red spots, bald spots, scabs, wounds).

Fat-tailed gerbils also want to build a nest

Fat-tailed gerbils also like to make a nest, so they always need nesting material so that they can line their burrow with it. Making a nest is therefore part of the natural behavior of a gerbil. Therefore always give him 15-25 grams of nesting material. Nest material should be nice and soft, absorb moisture and have fragile fibers so that the animals cannot get entangled in it. Materials such as cotton, hemp, toilet paper and hay are ideal.

Food from and for the Fat-tailed gerbil

Fat-tailed gerbils (unlike the other gerbil species) are insectivores by nature. You can also see this very well in the shape of their snout, which is very pointed. The diet of Fat- tailed gerbils must therefore consist largely of animal proteins. Unfortunately, there is no specific food available (yet) for the Fat-tailed gerbil, but fortunately the standard gerbil food supplemented with an insect mix is sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of the Fat-tailed gerbil.

Dental formula: 1003/1003 Orange yellow incisors. (Incisors top - bottom ratio = 1:3) Incisors continue to grow. Choosing don't keep growing
Stomach: One-piece stomach with mucosal fold
Appendix: Small appendix with limited ability to process raw fibers Appetic faeces are only eaten when there is a food shortage

The percentage of crude fiber in the diet must be a maximum of 10% for optimal digestibility and absorbability of the food.

A good composition of the diet looks like this:

Crude protein (Rp): 14-15.5%
Crude fat (RVe): 4% Susceptible to obesity, as well as obesity
Crude fibers (RVz): 4-7%
Calcium (Ca): 0.6-0.7%
Phosphorus (F): 0.4-0.5% (Ca-F ratio: 1.5 : 1)

An optimal protein percentage for growing gerbils seems to be 16%. A magnesium or sodium deficiency can cause baldness and convulsions in Gerbils.

Gnawing material for Fat-tailed gerbils

Fat-tailed gerbils have a natural need to gnaw. This is because Gerbils are rodents and have growing incisors. It is therefore necessary that they can gnaw on something to wear out the teeth. If Gerbils have too few opportunities to wear the teeth, the teeth can become too long or grow crooked with all the consequences that entails.

Gnawing wood is used by rodents to wear down their teeth. Because the teeth of rodents always grow, they must regularly have something to gnaw so that they do not become too long and grow crooked.

Some Gerbils gnaw gnawing very actively and others don't at all. It is on the one hand a matter of taste, but on the other hand a matter of need. If a Gerbil has no need to gnaw because the teeth stay at a good length due to the food, hay or other nibbles, he will gnaw less on gnawing wood. It is good to always offer natural gnawing wood so that the animals can always gnaw if they have a need to gnaw.

Dental problems in the Fat-tailed gerbil

If you notice that your fat-tailed gerbil is eager to tackle the food, but then does not eat it, there may be something wrong with the teeth. Drooling can also indicate dental problems. If you suspect that you have dental problems, it is best to contact your vet.

Reproduction of the Fat-tailed Gerbil

Fat-tailed gerbils are solitary animals, they only come together during the mating season. Once young are born, the mother takes care of them until they are old enough to leave the nest, which is usually around 5-6 weeks.

The female is willing (in rut) and ready to mate every 7 days. This will take approximately 12 hours. If a successful mating has taken place on these days, the young are born after about 19 - 24 days. Females that are older than 6 months and have not yet had a litter usually do not become pregnant again.

The difference between males and females can be seen in the distance between the genital opening and the anus. This distance is greater in a male than in a female.

Sexual maturity : from 8 weeks
Breeding mature: females from 12 weeks
Throw count : 3-4 per year
Throw size : average 4
Gestation period : 19-24 days
Birth weight : 2 - 2.5 g, nestlings
Weaning time : from week 5 - 6 weeks

Health of the Fat-tailed Gerbil

Fat-tailed gerbils are generally quite healthy animals. The most common health problems are dental problems, obesity, and skin problems. We recommend that you check your teeth regularly in order to detect any dental problems in time.

The skin problems can be largely prevented by offering the animals sufficient and permanent bathing sand.

It is not necessary to treat the animals preventively with anti-parasite. It is not necessary to give extra vitamins with a complete gerbil diet.

If you have the following symptoms, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian:

dental problems

Drooling, moist nose and eyes, protruding teeth, not eating, losing weight, eating foreign materials that are softer than the food.


Bald spots, lots of scratching, scabs, sores, bumps and lumps.


Wet and dirty ass, drinking a lot, falling over, listlessness, different shape and color of the droppings.

gerbil rodent specialist

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