Are Gerbils Nocturnal Or Diurnal? [Gerbil Sleep Guide]

Your gerbil is up during the day and at night running around, eating, and playing. But he also sleeps a lot during the day and during the night.

In this article, we’ve listed every detail about gerbils and their sleeping habits. Take a look to find out when your gerbil rests and how long for.

Are gerbils nocturnal? And if not, what are they?

Key Takeaway:

Mongolian gerbils are more nocturnal than they are diurnal because they spend slightly longer sleeping during the day than they do at night. They also display crepuscular-like behavior because they are most active around dusk and dawn.

Does your gerbil ever get a good night’s sleep?

We’ll be discussing everything you must know about how gerbils get enough rest and what they get up to when they’re up at night coming up next in this article.

gerbil out in the wild at night

Are Gerbils Nocturnal?

Gerbils have a lot of energy and love spending time during the day and night eating, drinking, digging, grooming, and scrabbling about. Gerbils are active at all hours so it is tricky to put a label on their sleeping habits.

Are they nocturnal, dirunal, or crepuscular?

Let’s take a closer look at the gerbil’s levels of activity during different times of the day and their sleeping habits to find out more about them. Then you’ll finally be able to define the sleeping pattern of your fluffy pet.

Are Gerbils Nocturnal Or Diurnal?

Gerbils are fascinating animals whose sleeping patterns are a lot different from ours.

Is a gerbil nocturnal or diurnal?

Let’s find out more about these two terms to define the gerbil.

  • Animals that are nocturnal like hamsters are most active during the night. They roam, eat, and groom themselves at night before falling asleep during the day.
  • Diurnal animals are most active at night. They roam, eat, and groom themselves throughout the day before falling asleep at night.

Gerbils are slightly more nocturnal than they are diurnal. This is because they sleep for fractionally less time during the night than they do during the day.

In natural light conditions, gerbils sleep for around 12 hours a day and are active for about 12 hours a day. Yep, these animals are pretty well-balanced when it comes to making time for rest and play.

Gerbils sleep for just over 50% of the 12 daylight hours in their natural habitat. Gerbils sleep for just under 50% of the 12 hours of darkness in their natural habitat.

Because they sleep for slightly longer during the day than they do during the night, we can conclude that gerbils are marginally more nocturnal creatures than they are diurnal.

But they are also somewhat crepuscular as they are most active during dusk and dawn.

Still not sure how to define your gerbil?

Then keep reading.

Do Gerbils Sleep At Night?

Gerbils are animals that like to have a deep sleep and also like to be really active. They go through cycles of sleep and intense activity constantly throughout the day and night.

Is a gerbil nocturnal?

Gerbils sleep at night and during the day. But wild gerbils will spend a fraction more time awake at night than they will during the day which is why some say they are nocturnal.

During the night, a gerbil will go through two sleeping patterns. These are slow-wave sleep and paradoxical sleep patterns.

In the dark, a gerbil will get plenty of slow-wave sleep but he will also have frequent, short paradoxical sleep patterns.

Are Gerbils Active At Night?

The sleeping patterns of gerbils are quite fascinating. They spend about 12 hours asleep during a 24-hour day.

Gerbils are active both during the night and the day. But wild gerbils spend slightly more time being active at night than they do during the day.

What do gerbils do at night?

Most gerbil owners will soon be aware that their pets will be up and active for just over half of every night.

Now it’s time to reveal their secrets. Here’s what they get up to in the dark.

  • Burrowing. They create burrows in their bedding material.
  • Grooming. These little rodents must have access to a sand bath throughout the day and night as they love to groom themselves.
  • Eating. Gerbils spend their waking hours constantly eating and gnawing on chew toys to keep their teeth down.
  • Drinking. A gerbil will drink 4 to 10 ml of water each day. Make sure you give him fresh water every day.
  • Moving about. This might be running on its exercise wheel or simply moving around inside the cage.

During what’s left of the night, gerbils sleep and recharge their batteries ready for more activity when they wake up.

gerbil gathering food at night

Are Pet Gerbils Nocturnal?

Gerbils are very active creatures and do not spend a set time sleeping or awake. They will sleep in short bursts throughout the day and night.

Gerbil’s sleeping habits in the wild are unpredictable. They will spend slightly more time asleep during the day than they will at night but the sleeping pattern of a pet gerbil can vary.

Pet gerbils are social animals that can adapt to human sleeping schedules.

Why are my gerbils nocturnal?

If your gerbil’s cage is in a room you don’t use often, your gerbil may stick to his own sleeping habits. However, the more time he spends with you the more likely he is to adapt to your sleeping pattern.

What does that mean?

It means that a gerbil in captivity might spend longer sleeping during the night than it will during the day. It might be more active during the day and less at night.

Is the Gerbil a Crepuscular Animal?

Your gerbil’s sleeping pattern is unique. He’ll spend almost half of the night getting some good quality sleep and the rest of it being really active.

He’ll spend just over half of the day sleeping and the rest of it he’ll use for more activity. Gerbils spend slightly more time awake during the night than they do during the day, but asides from being labeled slightly nocturnal, some would argue they are somewhat crepuscular too.

Gerbils are in a sense, crepuscular animals, as they are most active during dusk and dawn. They do most of their burrowing, scrabbling, grooming, eating, and moving about between 6 to 8 am and 6 to 8 pm (in environments that have equally 12 hours of dark and light).

We cannot conclude that gerbils are strictly crepuscular animals as they are also active creatures during the night and the day. But they display crepuscular behavior in that they display heightened levels of activity during dusk and dawn.

What Gerbils Are Nocturnal?

Every gerbil has a different sleeping pattern. This pattern varies depending on the gerbil’s environment and also on its breed.

Coming up next, we’re going to take a look at the most popular gerbils and their different sleeping patterns.

gerbil caught on night camera

Is the Mongolian Gerbil Nocturnal?

If you have a pet gerbil, it is most likely a Mongolian gerbil. These gerbils have sleep habits that are difficult to define.

Mongolian gerbils are more nocturnal than they are diurnal as they sleep for slightly longer during the day than they do at night. But a pet Mongolian gerbil is capable of adjusting its sleep schedule to closer match its owner with more activity during the day and less at night.

How much time you spend with your gerbil will determine its sleeping pattern.

Are Fat-Tailed Gerbils Nocturnal Animals?

Fat-tailed gerbils are native to the Northern Sahara.

These gerbils tend to be more active at dusk in the wild and in captivity. The fat-tailed gerbil is awake for short periods of time and then alternates activity with sleep.

Fat-tailed gerbils are not nocturnal. They are somewhat crepuscular because of their heightened activity between 6 am and 8 am (in environments where there are 12 hours of equal light and dark).

Is the Cheesman’s Gerbil Nocturnal?

Cheesman’s gerbils have orange-brown fur, large eyes, and very long tails. Their underbellies are white.

The Cheesman’s gerbil is a prey animal in the wild and is constantly hiding from owls and foxes.

This gerbil is nocturnal. It escapes from the heat of the sun by hiding in its burrow sleeping all day.

After prolonged periods of sleep throughout the day, the gerbil comes out at night full of energy to look for food. It feeds mainly on grasses in the wild.

Why Does Your Gerbil Sleep So Much?

You’ll find your gerbils sleeping for about 12 hours a day. Because they go through short spouts of sleep and activity, it may seem like your gerbils spend more time asleep than they do awake.

Gerbils do not have a set time for sleeping or a set time for running about. So, it’s tricky to really judge how long this animal spends sleeping.

But what if you are concerned about how much sleep your gerbil gets?

Then use the following tips to help you pinpoint and fix this problem.

A Sick Gerbil

A sick gerbil will spend more time sleeping than most gerbils do. To ensure your gerbil is not fighting an underlying illness, take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Make sure the gerbil is eating enough healthy food.

A Lonely Gerbil

If your pets spend too long sleeping, it might be a sign of loneliness. Gerbils are social animals and some species prefer to live with other gerbils.

Consider putting two gerbils in the same cage and monitor how the gerbils adjust and their sleeping patterns. The two gerbils will find it easier to adapt to one another if they were from the same litter.

If you cannot get two gerbils from the same litter, consider introducing them to one another on mutual ground.

A Baby Gerbil

A baby gerbils sleeping pattern is different from that of a young adult. It will sleep for longer than other gerbils while it is still growing.

If you are concerned about the welfare of a baby gerbil, take it to the vet immediately.

A Cold Gerbil

Most gerbils prefer to live in the same environment as other gerbils. When the cold weather begins, one gerbil will huddle close to another to increase its body temperature.

If your gerbil feels cold and lives on his own, he might find it difficult to get to sleep.

Understanding the Sleep Pattern of Your Gerbil

Wrapping your head around the sleep pattern of your pet gerbil is an art. But thanks to the information in this article, you no doubt understand it a whole lot better now.

Gerbils are more nocturnal than they are diurnal as they spend slightly longer sleeping during the day than they do at night. But gerbils that have a lot of human interaction are able to adjust their sleeping clocks to fall asleep for longer during the night and spend less time asleep during the day.

Did you find this article interesting?

At Oddly Cute Pets, we always strive to provide you with the best articles about your gerbil’s diet, how to pick the best gerbil cage from your local pet stores, and how to train your pet. For more information about other pet rodents like guinea pigs, and hamsters, check out our website.

Thanks for reading!