|Posted by Leslie Balch on May 30, 2012 at 6:50 PM|
If there is one thing I have learned from my time living with and rehabbing gerbils it is that they are quick learners!!! Not only can gerbils learn from their care takers but eachother as well.
In this short blog I will include examples of gerbils learning from people as well as gerbil's learning from their cage mates.
Gerbils Learning From People
When I noticed that Jackie Gerbil loves to climb anything and everything I thought it might be interesting to see if I could teach him how to climb his cage topper. The cage topper was made out of hardware cloth and is easy for gerbils to climb on.
To teach Jackie how to climb the topper I took his favorite treat, a pumpkin seed, and started to show it to him through the mesh. With Jackie on the inside of the topper and I on the outside he began to slowly climb up the side in order to get the treat.
After Jackie climbed a little ways up I gave him the treat as a reward. Don't worry, gerbils do often climb and won't get hurt if they are in a proper enclosure. We didn't make his topper too high so he wouldn't get hurt while climbing. It only took me one time to show my crazy gerbil how to climb up the side of the topper for him to catch on.
This is what I generally see when Jackie has climbed up the side of his cage topper
Here is Jackie trying to get out of the cage after I've opened up the cage hatch
Jackie, Please Turn Down The Crazy!
Now, every night when I walk passed Jackie's cage I see him up in the corner of his topper digging and biting away at the mesh. It never fails, if I walk into the gerbil room he immediately scales the side of the cage and waits for me to take him out.
Do you think I take him out each and every time?! Why, of course I do! He has me wrapped around his little paw. I have just recently taught him how to crawl sideways across the cage side using the same technique with his favorite treats!
Very recently he has figured out how to climb from the spokes of his wheel onto the side of the cage topper. Jackie is such an acrobatic gerbil!
Gerbils Learning From Each Other
I have so many great examples of gerbils teaching each other how to do certain behaviors. Of course, I am sure you know that gerbil pups learn important behaviors by watching and immitating their parents such as drinking from a water bottle.
From watching my clan of 18 I have observed that gerbils do not stop learning from each other after they grow out of the pup stage. Jackie Gerbil began his little climbing tricks when he started to climb his waterbottle holder which was also made out of hardware cloth. He would climb all the way to the top of bottle and start digging in the corner of his cage.
Jackie AKA King Kong!
Jackie seems to think he is tunneling!
Before you know it Jackie taught Pippin how to climb the water bottle holder and engage in the same actions! As the months went by I began to notice that gerbils in other cages were beginning to climb their water bottle holders as well. Every single gerbil in my clan now climbs their bottles but they never did this before Jackie figured out how to do it.
Pippin has also caught onto all of Jackie Gerbil's climbing antics and he now mimics all of the same behaviors.
This is generally what I see before they both climb up!
The boys often hang in the corner of the cage just like this!!
After I lift up the cage hatch they both scramble for me to take them out of the cage
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