Gerbil Pup Development

This is information I have collected all over the internet. Watching pups grow up is fun and educational.

Pup Stages
Day One:

Pups are born hairless, deaf, blind, but not dumb. They will squeak like small birds and be nursed by their mother.  The pups should not be handled at this age as the mom is just adapting to them and is very sensitive.  Their skin is a reddish color and black eyed pups will have a dark spot where their eye is.  Red eyed pups' eyes will blend almost.  There are small amounts of body hair and the ears are flattened.

Day Two:

Pups are still blind, deaf and hairless.  A slightly darker pigment may begin to show up at this age.  They will still be noisy.  They can be touched if the mother is very trusting of the owner.  The pups are very sensitive and should not be picked up.  They should be checked for full milk-bellies to make sure the mother is feeding them.

Day Three:

Pups' pigmentation shows up more now.  They are still blind, hairless, and deaf.  Their whiskers and ears are beginning to become more prominent.  They will begin to move slightly around the nest.  The mother will retrieve them.  They can be handled if the mother is comfortable with it for short periods of time.  They should still have full milk bellies.
Day Four:

They are more mobile and can now squirm along and occasionally make it out of the nest.  At this age you can tell if they are spotted or not.  Sometimes you can tell genders but it is not the only age you should sex them.  You can see their eye slits are more defined and that they are significantly larger.  They still need to be nursed and kept warm.

Day Five:

The pup is pretty mobile and can leap from heights.  The ears stick out more and are less erect than adult gerbils.  Their tail is noticeably out of proportion as is their head.  Their "peach fuzz" fur begins to show what pre-molt color they will be and their whiskers are longer and more defined.  Their toes are more defined as well, and their leg muscles are beginning to develop. They should still be nursed but at this age, the mom can spend a little more time away from the nest since they are beginning to get their fur. 

Day Six:

The pups' ears are more upright and at this age they can begin to hear.  They are slightly more mobile and noisy.  The fuzz shows up more and colors begin to become apparent.  Their whiskers are very well developed.  They are beginning to get the facial features of an adult.  Their walking is still clumsy and they can fall easily from heights.  Genders might be apparent to the experienced gerbil owner.

Day Seven:

The pups are more mobile and will stray from the nest.  They can be sexed to know what genders they will be.  Their ears are more "elf-like" and stick away from the head.  The eye slits are becoming more developed as well as the eye beneath.  The toenails can be seen clearly.  Their teeth are beginning to emerge.  The belly is beginning to become furred. Markings and fur color are more apparent.  To sex gerbils, you should look for "nipple-dents".  They are small dots in the female's armpit and on the abdomen. You can sex them between 7 to 10 days is best. Otherwise you will have to wait until they are about 6 weeks old.
Day Eight:

The pups are starting to get more mobile and more furred. Color is apparent in some. They may begin to climb, scoot around the tank, and attempt to groom themselves. At this stage they are easily sexed and often find a pair of warm hands the comfiest place to be (besides the nest with their parent).

Day Nine:

The pups are gaining more and more mobility and on occasion will run from the nest. They are furred on their back and belly and the eye slits, ears, and mouth are becoming more developed. Pre-molt colors are fairly apparent.

Day Ten:

This is one of my favorite stages of babies. They are very active and adventurous, yet still just wanting a warm pair of hands to fall asleep in. Often they try to groom themselves slightly with their front feet and wrestle with litter mates over who gets to be warmest in the pile. They are fairly quick on their feet despite being a bit clumsy at times. Remember to be careful while holding them!
When do the babies open their eyes?  Fifteen to seventeen days.

At 3 weeks old, the pups will start sampling their parents food. They will start learning on how to use the water bottle at this stage. The pups are very active and will play with one another and their parents. They will still drink their moms milk. They also starting chewing small bits of cardboard as their teeth are starting to come in.

At 4 weeks, the pups are almost completely weaned. They start looking like gerbils except smaller. Water bottle should be mastered by then.

Gerbil pups will wean themselves. They start nibbling on food when they open their eyes, but don't take this as meaning they are eating and can be removed. They will need a bit more time with their mother to acclimate themselves to solid food. If you forcibly wean the pups, they will develop more slowly than pups left with their parents until they wean themselves. Good weaning food is cheerios, oatmeal and rice krispies. Nice small soft food. Nothing cuter than a baby gerbil eating a big cheerio.

You need to wait until at least six weeks to sell or adopt out the pups.

Another good site on pups:

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Created 11 February 2011 - Updated 15 March 2011