How To Keep Gerbils Quiet At Night (Step By Step Guide)

Gerbils, the furry poppers, are active animals. They like being on the go and will rarely ever sit. They can be pretty loud when chasing each other, throwing things around, or chewing at their cage walls (like hamsters do). If you have pet gerbils or are interested in adopting a few, get ready to give up your sweet, sound sleep.

Why? Are gerbils noisy at night?

Key Takeaway:

Yes! Gerbils are loud at night – their favorite time of day. Luckily, you can keep their volume down. Tire them out by having them exercise during the day or give them quiet toys to play with at night. Don’t try to put them to sleep – that’s not happening.

Love your sleep?

Let’s learn more about how to keep gerbils quiet at night. We will also uncover some tips to minimize the sound from a gerbil cage. Let’s get started.

a gerbil sleeping

Keeping Noisy Gerbils Quiet at Night

My gerbil has got me at my wit’s end. I need sleep. What do I do?

Does that sound like a familiar situation? You aren’t alone! Gerbil owners around the world are crying out for help.

Good news? We know some surefire ways to keep your playful fluffballs quiet at night. Scroll down to find the solution to your noisy gerbil situation.

#1 Stick to Evening Meals

The hungrier the gerbil, the noisier he gets. He’s telling you, “I won’t let you forget to feed me!” So, for your ears, your shut-eye, and your gerbil’s health – feed him well before your bedtime.

But I feed mine before leaving for work. Is that not okay?

Honestly, there’s no “okay” or “not okay” here. It’s “This works best for me.” If you want your Mr. Chubby Cheeks to be quieter at night, switch to evening meals.

My gerbil gobbles up his food in minutes. Wouldn’t he be back to his hyperactive self soon after?

There are a few solutions here:

  • Don’t serve dinner on a platter. Let your squeaky munchkin work for it. You can hide pieces of food around the cage. It’ll slow down his eating speed and keep him occupied for longer. If you’re worried he won’t be able to find his food, don’t be. Gerbils, like their cousin guinea pigs, are excellent sniffers.
  • Give your gerbil a diet rich in proteins and carbohydrates. High-protein foods like pumpkin, hemp, or sunflower seeds will make them fuller for longer.
  • Invest in slow feeders or treat dispensers that will keep your gerbil busy for a while. These puzzles and treats will feed him and keep him entertained.
gerbil playing and chewing toys

#2 Schedule Plenty of Exercise Time Before Bed

Gerbils are explorers. They can run at the speed of 4 miles per hour. That’s much faster than you think! Let Mr. Hyperactive explore his cage when it is daytime and give him plenty of exercise before bedtime.


Well, how about setting up an obstacle course in the cage? You can make a “tunnel” using toilet paper rolls or add a few tubes for him to squeeze through. Your gerbil will be thankful for the entertainment and physical activity.

If your gerbil loves going out of his cage, let him explore outside too. Leave him in an empty bath or on the staircase for an hour or two. It will tire out his little legs and prepare him for bed by nighttime.

Of course, you must always be highly vigilant and supervise him. Gerbils can get into dangerous situations if you don’t keep an eye on them!

#3 Tune in to Some Calm Music

It might come as a surprise, but calming music works pretty well with some gerbils. So, play relaxing music to help your gerbils sleep.

Don’t gerbils have a heightened sense of sound? Is music safe for them?

Yes, they do have a heightened sense of sound. A gerbil's hearing range includes frequencies from 100 Hz to 60,000 Hz. But you don't have to worry. If the music is not louder than your voice, it will be safe for them.

So, any music works, yeah?

Nope. Slow-tempo classical music is the best for gerbils. Think instrumental piano or violin music. Pop, rock, or jazz can be too stimulating for them.

Remember that music won’t work if your gerbil is hungry, so stick to evening meals and physical activities! Once you put your gerbil in the cage after his playtime, switch on the music and watch him enter dreamland.

#4 Go for Wooden Chew Toys

Gerbils love chewing toys. Part of it has to do with their playful nature, but it’s mostly related to their need to keep their constantly growing teeth in shape. If gerbils find nothing to grind their teeth on, they’ll make a snack out of the cage wires! That, dear friends, can be shrillingly noisy. Plus, it’s not good for your gerbil.

Save your gerbils from their teeth and give them something to chew on. Wood toys work best here – they last longer than plastic and don’t cause any health issues.

Are there any particular types of wooden toys that I should buy?

Wooden log piles, chew blocks, and wooden wheelies are amazing options. You can also give them willow branches or untreated wood from apple trees. Just give them something that won’t splinter into small pieces. Oak, bamboo, aspen, and elm are all safe options.

gerbil chewing toys

#5 Get the Right Substrate for Your Gerbil’s Cage

Gerbils are diggers. They enjoy burrowing in the substrate that lines the bottom of their cage. If your gerbil's cage doesn't have enough substrate or the material is noisy, he'll dig the sides or the floor of the cage directly. Noisy as hell!

What substrate should I go for?

For noise-free bedding, opt for paper-based substrates like Carefresh or Aspen. Both provide warmth, are easy to clean, and are soft on the gerbil’s feet.

Try shredded paper or hay if you’re looking for something natural and biodegradable. But, these materials are not very absorbent. You’ll also have to change them frequently.

Cardboard is another option. It’s soft, absorbent, and doesn’t make a lot of noise when your gerbil moves around.

How much substrate is enough?

To mimic his natural habitat, give a gerbil at least 7 to 8 inches of substrate. Let tunnel digging be a fun activity for him.

#6 Give Your Squeaky Sweethearts Paper Towels for Shredding

Talking of substrate and fun activity, no gerbil can resist shredding paper towels to make his bedding. He’ll roll around in it, hide in it, and even make little nests with it.

Shredding paper towels is a quiet activity. Yes, there are ripping noises, but they are much less noisy than the banging in the cage walls.

So, make sure you give your gerbil some paper towels every day. A few things to be mindful of are:

  • The paper towels you put in the cage must be new.
  • They should be whole and not folded or torn.
  • They should be 100% paper – no plastic, no fabric.

What Doesn’t Work With Gerbils?

Now that we’ve looked at what works for keeping gerbils quiet, let’s talk about the one thing that doesn’t work – making gerbils sleep forcefully. You can’t change a gerbil’s sleep cycle. The tiny dynamic dynamos will sleep when they want, for how long they want.

Don’t they sleep in one go? What’s with these midnight parties?

Gerbils sleep for 12 hours a day. But they sleep in spurts. They take a few short naps during the day and night and wake up again for more fun and play! It’s called being metaturnal.

Hey, but we don’t want to silence these adorable critters! We only want to ensure they don’t keep us up at night. So, if your gerbil insists on enjoying his nighttime play, you’ll have to find another way to muffle the sound.

Coming up next, we’ll learn how making changes to the gerbilarium and its positioning can make your zzz’s much-much more peaceful.

Ways to Reduce Noise Coming From a Gerbil’s Cage

I’ve tried it all, but my gerbil’s noisy nature is disrupting my sleep. Please help!

Hey, don’t worry, gerbil parent. We’ve got your back.

If your pocket rocket isn’t keeping it low, there’s Plan B – Make changes to the gerbilarium. Change its location, use another material for the cage, or switch to different furniture items.

Ready for your last resort? Scroll.

#1 Switch to a Glass Tank

Gerbils like chewing. And when they can’t find anything else, they’ll start gnawing the walls of the cage. It’s loud and unhealthy. You need a glass tank with a well-fitted lid. It’ll keep the sounds in.

Bonus? Glass tanks are less messy and a lot safer.

#2 Pick a No-Noise Exercise Wheel

Sometimes it’s not your cute gerbil but his toys and furniture that make the most noise. An old squeaky exercise wheel, for instance, can be a nightmare for your ears. And you can’t even keep it out; your pet won’t be happy about it. So, you get a silent exercise wheel. But it’s on the pricier side. If that doesn’t work for you, you can oil the exercise wheel you already have. Use Canola or sunflower oil for the job.

gerbil on a silent spinner

#3 Move the Tank to a Different Room

Repositioning the cage to a new area works like a charm. Gerbils react to external noises. So, if you move their tank to a quieter place in the house, they won’t be as stimulated to squeak. If you want your lovely fur babies to be around you in your bedroom, use a white noise machine or a fan to muffle the sound.

Why Are Gerbils Loud at Night?

I don’t get it. Why is my gerbil noisy at night? Are gerbils nocturnal animals?

It’s a common misbelief that gerbils are more active during the night. Mongolian gerbils, the ones that we keep as pets, are crepuscular animals. Not diurnal (active during the day) or nocturnal (jumpy at night), but crepuscular (most active during twilight).

But there are other reasons why there’s an orchestra of squeaks and claw-scratching from gerbils at night. Check them out below:

  1. Empty Tummies: Gerbils are foodies. They want their food bowls to be overflowing with yummy delights like melons and cucumbers. If they find their food bowl empty, they will make some noise to let you know.
  2. Boredom: Gerbils are intelligent animals and require mental stimulation. If their environment and cage don’t provide enough of that, they will start making noise.
  3. Inadequate Cage Size: Your gerbil needs enough space to move around. If their cage is too small, they will become frustrated and noisy.
  4. Scared Little Fellas: Tiny as they are, gerbils have big emotions. If your gerbil is in a new environment, afraid of something, or feels threatened, he will not sit quietly.

Why do gerbils squeak at night only?

Gerbils make noise all the time. You only feel it more during your bedtime because:

  • You’re exhausted, and you really want to snooze off.
  • Everything else around you is eerily quiet.

Now, let’s explore the different types of gerbil noises and see why they make them.

Types of Gerbil Noises & Why They Make Them

Gerbil cages are like tiny concert halls at night. You can hear all sorts of sounds – from squeaking to thumping. Each sound is a hint to what your furry friends are up to or what they want. And so, it’s important you know them all. We have a list of the most common sounds gerbils make and reasons why they make them.

  • Chewing: Gerbils take their dental workout pretty seriously, which is good because they need it. Gerbils’ teeth grow wild, and if they don’t keep chewing them down to size, they will hurt their gums.
  • Squeaking: Gerbils squeak to communicate and express themselves. They can be saying anything from “hello” to “I’m scared.” They also squeak when they’re irritated by a fellow tank mate.
  • Chasing Each Other: Gerbils love playing ‘catch me if you can’ with their other tank pals. It’s also their way of establishing dominance.
  • Thumping: A gerbil will thump his tiny feet on the cage’s floor when he’s alarmed. It is also called drumming.
  • Exercising: Gerbils are active creatures. They run in their workout wheels and dig around in their cages. The wheels can be noisy – they rattle and squeak.
  • Throwing Things Down: Bumping into tank furniture or throwing things around is a gerbil’s way of exploring his cage. Boredom can cause this noisy behavior, too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are All Gerbil Breeds Equally Loud?

Yep! They are all noisy. They all like to play and have fun. The breed doesn’t change how noisy gerbils can get. It’s more about their individual personalities and their environment.

How Loud Can a Gerbil Be?

Well, they aren’t as loud as barking dogs and crowing roosters, but they are loud. Gerbils can be quite loud when they are playing or running in their wheel. The sounds they make seem louder at night because everything else is quiet.

Can I Train My Gerbil to Be Quieter at Night?

There’s no harm in trying. However, don’t expect to change your fluffball’s natural behavior. You can’t do that. Positive reinforcement works in some cases. Give your pet gerbil a treat for keeping it low to tell him that he’s doing a good job. Do it consistently to let the message sink in.

Silencing the Midnight Mischief: A Guide to Shushing Gerbils Under the Moonlight!

Gerbils are active and playful creatures. They like to explore their surroundings and express themselves. All of this means two things for gerbil owners – lots of noise and little sleep.

But you don’t have to compromise your sleep for your little furball. You only have to adopt a few strategies to keep your gerbil quiet at night. Tire the munchkin out and then fill his tummy with the yummies. Play some soft music and give him silent toys to play with.

If your attempts with your gerbil fail, take over the reins by making changes to his environment. Move the cage to a quieter part of the house and give him a silent exercise wheel. The secret to keeping your gerbil quiet is understanding his behavior and providing him with the best care possible!

Did you find the information in this article helpful?

At Oddly Cute Pets, we aim to provide pet parents with the knowledge and confidence they need in caring for their fuzzy friends. We believe it helps you bond with your pet and create a better life for both of you.

If you’re looking for more info on other rodents, even reptiles, our website has a ton of pet advice, tips, and tricks. Check it out, and you’ll find what you need in no time!

Wishing you a peacefully quiet night with your gerbils! Good luck!

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