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  • Evelyn -

    Hi, thank you very much for the links. Avon and Blake are very sweet, I want them! :) You have given them a very spacious home, where they can dig to their little hearts' content. What lucky guys they are. No doubt they will have had an exciting day, exploring their new surroundings. What were their latest adventures? Did they both find their way to the sandbath, and back? And what did they make of the wheel? I am sure it will be only a few days for them to fully settle in and to get to know you.

    All my four now come to the hand and also walk onto it, but they don't linger. Three of the four do not like being held or lifted. Mr Percy does tolerate it, albeit briefly. I am happy to give them more time if that's what is needed. Mike has always been very different, though. I've had him three days when, to my shock, he jumped straight at me when opening the cage door, and then ran up my arm and sat on my shoulder. Then he sauntered back into his cage. I was mortified the first time he did this, anxious that he might spook and jump or fall onto the tiled kitchen floor. Mike is the only one of the four that I can hold in my hand and put down somewhere else, something I occasionally have to do because he seems to think it very funny when running straight up the wire mesh lid and then apparently realises that there's really no good way down!

    All four can be skittish, even the calmer ones at times, I have found. I have also found that speaking to them before I walk past helps, as it alerts them, but most interesting I am finding that they all now respond to my voice by looking in my direction and frequently coming out of their houses to check what's happening.

    You ask about my new mouse house. The lower level is rather wobbly/flimsy and I had to figure out how best to stabilise it with the heavy wheel standing on it. The bottom 'drawer' is pathetic, as is the little 'door' above it. I knew about this, though, and also that the front panel could not be turned upside down. As it turned out, there wasn't a problem, however, because I taped off the narrow slits with duct tape, which completely sealed them.

    I found the 'Rennmaus Tirol' website very interesting, glad you thought the same. I know I said 'he' but I think it is run by a woman. I found a photo of her on one of the pages, have a look under 'Service', where she is offering to re-bond other peoples' declanned gerbils as a service, which makes me think that she definitely has much experience. I have not found her name mentioned on the website, btw.

    I think the information re neutered males / females makes perfect sense, in that a neutered animal's scent is totally different.

    Indeed, no mention of tomato greens on her list but today I read, on a German website (link below) that one should also remove all tomato seeds, and the tomato peel as well. My ones love tomatoes, and although I've obviously never fed the leaves, and also always remove all the seeds, I've never removed the peel (and they are fine).

    The German website mentioned above - web-toolbox.net/maus/index.html
    - has some good information and lots of very helpful (I thought) hints and tips concerning all sorts of things. I've spent quite some time earlier today going through the many pages and still have not read everything on there.

    I am looking forward to reading about how Blake and Avon got on with their wheel. Is this an aluminium wheel? Funniest thing so far I observed last night: neither Ginger nor Mike had ever used a wheel. Mike had one of those flying saucer things which he was rather obsessed with, though. Yesterday, each explored the wheel and soon got the hang of it. But then they both jumped in together and their problem began when each one wanted to run in the opposite direction. As they both are about the same weight, the wheel would, of course, not move, because they were both straining at the same time to move it into 'their' direction. Eventually both sat down beside each other, hopping up and down on their little behinds and turning their heads back and forth, looking at each other excitedly, as if to say 'for god's sake, please, do make up your mind which way you want us to run'. I had to laugh silently so as not to interrupt their to-ings and fro-ings and it was well past my bedtime before I finally left them to it. They will perhaps soon figure out how to run together. That should be fun!

  • Markpd -

    Thanks :), ah yea I posted that thread in a member area only, I'll give you a direct link to some of the photos here.
    My babies ;) - photos.app.goo.gl/aiEbvrKpwEwBKtfa6
    The tank - photos.app.goo.gl/KpyXAHagj3U69Na56
    Avon - photos.app.goo.gl/rBW629FBG8dWTcq78
    Blake - photos.app.goo.gl/4Ra62DsrMTkzbL95A

    Avon seems to be settling in well, he doesn't bolt at the slightest movement and is quite happy for me to hand feed him, and he's not bothered by my hand being near him without food or going over him :). Blake has quickly become skittish though, if I make the wrong type of noise, he's gone! lol He is at least happy to take food from my hand, but once he's got it he does a runner!
    Until last night, neither of them had ventured down the ramps to the wheel or sandbath, even though I had placed them both there earlier! After a few hrs of each being 'stuck' their separate from their brother I had to move them back, they were showing signs anxious digging in the corner, bless them! But last night at least one went down their and got out under his own steam, yay! :)
    Oh and both are having great fun making burrows! :D see here - photos.app.goo.gl/tpiQUoG19sLymjBv7

    Re split caging, yea you're absolutely, I was thinking of a whole other level of stress in the 'small cage' method, aka cruelty!
    So split cage isn't cruel, but it is stressful, and now I remember that Eva W. advised not to do it with Gerbils from 3yrs old.

    Re your cage, nice size and nice looking cage :), will it stand up to Gerbil chewing? And is the little front swing open door leak proof for bedding? (for the 20+cm bedding)

    Re bonding and social webpage, that's very interesting about neutered males! It's funny, a very experienced owner was talking about how she only recently got a neutered male, and how the group dynamics are very different with it vs normal male-female pairs. I'll have to paste that section for her (done).
    Haven't read it all yet, but the bits I have, have translated pretty well :)
    Do you know who the author is? His/her credentials? Am I right in thinking he runs a rescue ctr?
    Btw, I'm pretty sure Eva W is Swiss.

    Cool list of plants btw! :) (one thing it misses out though, don't feed them tomato plant leaves, apparently they're poisonous!)

    Thanks for the links :)
    I'd better go to sleep now!


  • Evelyn -

    Congratulations !! Unfortunately I am unable to access the link which, so I am guessing, shows a picture. So you are now the proud owner of a little Agouti and a little Burmese, how sweet! How are they settling in? I hope that everything has gone well for them and that they feel at home now. Have you named them?

    Re the stressful aspects concerning the re-bonding, I had been thinking that placing one animal into the other animal's half of the split cage etc every so often must be very stressful for them, considering that my gerbils prefer to be left alone. They tend to get nervous and go into hiding, when I have to, at times, rummage about in their bedding. They also appear to be anxious when taken out of their cage and to a strange place they don't know. The re-bonding procedure creates constant change in their immediate environment for a prolonged period of time, does it not? I would imagine this to be very upsetting.

    I agree: the aggressor percieves the other as a continued challenge, and the only way to resolve the situation is to kill, because the 'challenger' cannot leave the cage.

    My new gerbil home - have a look on on Amazon (Pawhut, small animal kit large). The dimensions are 115x60x55cm. It came as a flat pack. I've added a 28cm wheel.

    The other day I came across a very good (I think) website with lots of information, including pictures of flowers (makes identification rather easy), long lists of suitable fresh foods, vegetables, herbs, bits of trees, and much more:

    There are also two interesting pages titled 'Verhalten und Soziales' and 'Vergesellschaftung':

    with interesting details about re-bonding, written by someone who appears to have a lot of experience.

    There is also a page where the author can be contacted. Being an Austrian, he might even know how to get hold of Eva Waiblinger, who, so I think, is also Austrian.

    The text is in German, though, and it may be a tad cumbersome for you to read it.

  • Markpd -

    Sorry for the delayed reply, been side tracked, I've got 2 8wk old pups now! :D
    A Burmese and an Agouti, see here if you like - gerbilforum.proboards.com/post/293864/thread

    Yea I agree, I think it's changes that cause the problems, not cage size (unless it's ridiculously small!).
    And it's not likely that official experiments will be carried out on de-clanning, so I suspect it will take many years of anecdotal reports to get a better picture.

    About re-bonding, hmm, maybe we've read about different methods, but the split cage method I've read about doesn't seem particularly stressful as their kept apart until they seem relaxed about each other. Once the separator is removed it could be stressful for a short while though.
    If the Gerbils that are involved in the de-clanning have not drawn blood, then they can indeed be re-paired, but it's not certain.
    Oh and it seems Gerbils only kill when de-clanning because the victim can't escape the cage and the aggressor sees this as a continued challenge to them.

    What was the new cage you got? A Laola? (I know they do quite big mostly wooden cages).

    Btw, quite bonkers that she bought Gerbils for her 10mth old son! What the hell was she thinking???

  • Evelyn -


    Ok re 'unprovoked'. The more I am reading about this, the more I am inclined to think that it is a change in the cage's environment which causes the problem. Not everyone has the time required and/or the observation skills to get to the bottom of this. Understandably, nobody in their right minds would deliberately provoke a fight by making all sorts of changes, just to find out if this really does result in de-clanning, and in any case, one single such experiment would not be sufficient to prove anything.

    Going by what I am reading in the various accounts, the methods used to get gerbils to re-bond appear to be extraordinarily stressful for the animals. Not sure if I would even want to try. I am still trying to figure out why they won't do as other animals do, ie fight, re-establish their hierarchy, and live happily together ever after. I mean, it is known that, for instance, in a clan only the dominant pair breeds, or that in a same-sex pair there is a dominant and a submissive. Presumably in a trio there's a dominant and two submissives. I don't think I would be courageous enough to take on a trio.

    There are specific gestures by which animals show submissivess, and as soon as they show it, the aggressor/attacker stops attacking. Very rarely do animals kill each other in such fights. Why are gerbils so different?

    News: I have today ordered a new (wooden) home for Mike & Ginger, the more active of my two pairs. Not said anything in the forum as yet, as others would immediately fire off more questions and offer more suggestions, but will post a picture once it's set up and ready.

    Good luck with getting your baby gerbils soon. How lucky to have found a breeder so near to where you live. There are currently no gerbils advertised by breeders where I live, and none have been available from breeders for quite some time now, in my wider area. As you perhaps know, I got Percy & George when they were about 5 months old, from a woman who had bought them for her 10-month old son, would you believe it, and desperately wanted rid of them. The other two I bought from Pets at Home on the day they arrived there.

  • Markpd -

    Re p6, yea I saw that, and hence I highlighted that section in my translation ;), unfortunately they don't follow that up with more information.

    Re sudden aggression, the trouble with adding 'unprovoked' is that it's unprovoked as far as we know, it maybe that if the Gerbils had 24/7 observation beforehand then provocation might have been spotted.

    [i] I don't think that, in general, it is the size of the cage that triggers (or invites) declanning, but rather changes, maybe even subtle changes that were made, which in turn upset the established hierarchy.[/i]
    I totally agree! :), and I'm searching for evidence which supports that, hence coming here as Germans are much more likely to have the bigger cages.

    [i]Having said that, I am however also wondering why it is that, unlike other animals who fight, but continue living peacefully together as a herd or a clan (call it what you wish) once hierarchy has been established, this appears to be impossible in the case of gerbils.[/i]
    It seems to be the rule of thumb that if the Gerbils have drawn blood, then they normally just won't re-bond and it shouldn't be attempted. If however they haven't drawn blood then it's worth trying to re-bond them via the split cage method, which apparently can work and they maybe ok for the rest of the lives, I've no idea what the odds are though.

    At the moment I don't have any Gerbils, the last time I had any was 32yrs ago! lol. I was hoping to get a male pair from a rescue ctr nr Croydon, but that pair has now gone and all they have left are trio's, which I'm not so keen on seeing as I'm effectively a new and inexperienced Gerbil owner. Their is another rescue ctr in Richmond that apparently is going to get a female pair, but their site still shows them as 'coming soon'.
    I have just very recently found that their is a Gerbil breeder just a few miles from me! And at least a couple of forum members say she's a good breeder :), so I might end up with baby Gerbils after all :) (the coming weekend, or the one after).

  • Evelyn -

    PS - Page 6, E Waiblinger, Mongolische Rennmäuse:

    Dass es in grösseren Terrarien eher zu plötzlicher Aggression kommt, ist nicht nachgewiesen. --> Claims that accommodation in large-sized terrariums/aquariums is more likely to result in sudden aggression have not been proven.

  • Evelyn -

    Thanks very much for explaining, you've been busy!

    I guess that 'sudden aggression' can be used; better would perhaps have been 'sudden unprovoked aggression'.

    Cage size - I've been wondering about this, because from reading some of the posts about declanning, at least some of these fights appear to be triggered by a change of bedding, or by moving the animals to a larger cage. The fights appear to break out in order to establish, or re-establish dominance/clan hierarchy. When changing, or moving animals (not only gerbils) into different surroundings, hierarchy frequently has to be re-established. I don't think that, in general, it is the size of the cage that triggers (or invites) declanning, but rather changes, maybe even subtle changes that were made, which in turn upset the established hierarchy.

    Having said that, I am however also wondering why it is that, unlike other animals who fight, but continue living peacefully together as a herd or a clan (call it what you wish) once hierarchy has been established, this appears to be impossible in the case of gerbils. Perhaps the fact that gerbils are very terrirorial animals, more so than many other species, has something to do with it. Without knowing (much) more about wild gerbils' clan structures I can't say. Of course, in the wild the attacked gerbil will run away, leave the clan, maybe establish a new clan, or join another, all depending on the circumstances. An interesting subject, this.

    May I ask how many gerbils you have?


  • Markpd -

    Ah, interesting, I like the name they choose for it, quite appropriate! :)

    Most of the translation has been for the STS Gerbil handbook which I posted to the Gerbil forum, see my English version here - gerbilforum.proboards.com/thre…ed?page=1&scrollTo=293504

    I'm also wondering if I've got the translation of Plötzliche Aggression right, I've got 'sudden aggression'.

    I'm trying to bring the English forum up to speed on decent cage sizes, which is going to be an uphill struggle as their is at least 1 US breeder who believes that too big a cage size can cause de-clanning! (and I think that's a fairly widespread and old belief) Lol, absolutely ridiculous in my opinion, seeing as in the wild they have far more space! I've not started this discussion there yet as I'm still building up evidence.
    A major part of that, is going through the German forum and seeing if de-clanning is any more common there (I bet it isn't!), as they have large to very large cages! :)
    For the record, I've bought a 120x50x50cm cage, I'm not convinced by (some of) the US idea of having a max cage size.

    I can read French to a limited degree, so I could check any Gerbil forums they might have, but I've already got plenty of 'projects' underway ;).
    Anyway, now you know why I came here, wish me luck on translating the forum threads!, as I found out with that STS handbook, Google does a terrible job of translating German, DeepL is better but isn't built into my browser.


  • Evelyn -

    The full German name is Wüstenrennmaus, which literally translated means desert racing mouse. Are you translating these texts for your own use, or do you post them in the English forum, or elsewhere, if I may ask?

    I think that de-clanning is a gerbil-specific term which everyone familiar with gerbils understands. It would be interesting to learn whether it is called something different in other languages, but my guess is that they also use de-clanning. Other than German or English language gerbil forums would be the place to find out.


  • Markpd -

    Oh, sorry, 1 more thing, is the literal translation of Rennmause racing mouse? Google seems to think so! :D

  • Markpd -

    Hi Evelyn
    Excellent , thank you for your answers :) , in that Swiss handbook I translated I mostly used 'burrows', so that's good.
    Might have to add to the translation I did for Haltung.

    Interesting they don't have their own word for de-clanning, makes my job easier to find related threads :)


  • Evelyn -

    Hi Mark

    The meaning of Haltung in the thread title is 'housing and care'. In the context of farm animals one would say 'husbandry'.

    Regarding gerbils, a Bausystem means their system of tunnels and burrows, I agree. I think that the meaning of tunnel is slightly different from the meaning of burrow, though - tunnels being the suberranean runs leading to, and interconnecting the burrows, ie the subterranean caves gerbils live in.

    The fact that the term 'de-clanning' is used by the German gerbil forumites makes me think that there is no German word for it.

    Not had much time as yet to peruse the English forum, but will hopefully have more time over the weekend.

    Best wishes

  • Markpd -

    Hi Evelyn
    No worries, well if we see you in the English forum you'll be welcomed :). I don't think it's quite as busy as here, but it's still active nonetheless. And it's good to know I've got an English contact here ;).

    That reminds me, I wonder if you could help me with a couple German words, haltung, Google was completely useless here, usually suggesting attitude, sometimes posture! DeepL was better, suggesting housing, but I'm wondering if it should be care! For instance, your thread's title is translated as 'Attitude in England'! lol
    Similar problems with Bausystem, they say building or construction system, I believe that's meant to be burrows, or burrow system (maybe tunnels?). What would you say?
    And also do you know if de-clanning is 'Entklinkung von'?

    I recently translated a Swiss (German) booklet by the Swiss animal welfare for Gerbils into English, took me many hours! ( gerbilforum.proboards.com/thre…animal-welfare-translated ), using at 1st Google, then largely using DeepL (it's better with German), I never realised how complicated German is! What's with nearly all words changing meaning with context!? ;) I know English does that with some words, but not routinely, my respect to anyone who can speak/write German!


  • Evelyn -

    Hello Mark

    Many thanks,again, for your good wishes, the helpful links and addresses, all greatly appreciated. I had not known about the english Gerbil forum. After having contacted the National Gerbil Society a while ago and never receiving a reply from them, I had decided to go elsewhere and joined the German forum, where I have found everyone I've since 'met' friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, and prompt in replying. I will certainly have a look around on the English forum, thanks for the link, but one forum is probably enough for me.

    Best wishes

  • Markpd -

    Hi Evelyn
    I saw you thread about the cage, had to use Google translate as I don't know German! Lol
    Anyway, I saw you were struggling to find the size cage you wanted, I don't know if you've since found one, if not I found just 2 places that are selling new plain aquariums (on ebay), I've ordered one myself from NACD.
    Anyway, here's a few links ebay.co.uk/str/nacdshop and ebay.co.uk/str/diversaaquariumproducts
    Or for a 2nd hand tank you may have luck on shpock.com/en-gb as well as the usual gumtree and ebay etc.

    I was going to post this on your thread, but Google in page translate has stopped working atm! And I think it would be rude not to post in German as well as English, and probably against the rules anyway!

    In case you're wondering, I've registered here because I want to find out more about German standards for cage sizes, and what it's based on. They certainly seem ahead of the UK and US! (not surprising on the latter).


    • Evelyn -

      Hi Mark

      Many thanks for contacting me, and yes, I think it would probably be considered rude to post, let alone hold a 'conversation' in English on a German forum. I am not on ebay but am checking local adverts and also Gumtree on a regular basis and also go to local flea markets etc. As I don't need one, but two - I have two groups (ie two pairs of males) it would be too pricey for me to buy something new, whether fish tank, terrarium, or anything else that would fit requirements.

      Best wishes

    • Markpd -

      No probs.
      Definitely worth checking out shpock then if money's tight.
      Btw, did you know theirs an english Gerbil forum too? If not, it's this one gerbilforum.proboards.com/

      Good luck with finding cages!


    • Markpd -

      I just thought, even though it might be too expensive, I could simply give you the details from ebay of the companies selling aquariums on ebay, then you could contact them directly.
      A few NACD prices, for a 120x50x50 tank it's £202 delivered, tank 100x40x40 £158 all in, a terrium 80x35x40 £135 all in.
      Diversa, 100x50x50 tank, £190 all in, tank 100x40x40 £140 all in (much cheaper than NACD here!), 80x35x40 £110 all in (again much cheaper!). Probably too much, but thought I'd give you a couple of prices to be sure.
      For NACD it's :-
      Business name:Nacd Aquariums

      Address: 52 Faggs Road
      TW14 0LG


      Email:[email protected]


      Business name:MB Store Ltd

      First name:Miroslaw

      Last name:Biegun

      Address: 2 The Cloisters
      Barnacres Road
      HP3 8JU
      Hemel Hempstead


      Email:[email protected]