Gerbil Tail Fell Off

Last Updated on July 17, 2023 by ellen

Oh no, my gerbil’s tail fell off! Learn more about your gerbil’s tail, why your gerbil tail fell off, and what the underlying issue is.

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Oh no, my gerbil's tail fell off! Learn more about your gerbil's tail, why your gerbil tail fell off, and what the underlying issue is.

Gerbil Tail Fell Off

Did you know that your gerbils tail falling off is a fairly common condition? In most cases, it doesn’t indicate a serious problem. Learn what gerbil owners can do.

One day, you may come home to find that your gerbil’s tail has fallen off. Don’t worry – this is a fairly common condition in gerbils and it doesn’t usually indicate a serious problem. However, you will want to take your gerbil to the vet to find out the underlying cause and get treatment if necessary.

How do you treat a gerbil tail slip?

Tail slipping requires just one treatment, amputation. It is a section of the tail that is rotting from exposure. Your veterinarian performs the surgery and the gerbils will recover entirely.

What is tail slip?

Tail slip is a condition that occurs when the connective tissue between the vertebrae and the tail muscles deteriorates, leading to the tail falling off. It can be caused by a number of things, such as trauma, infection, genetic factors, or poor diet.

a gerbil hiding in their bedding

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptom of tail slip is the tail falling off. However, there may be other signs depending on the underlying cause. For example, if the condition is caused by infection, your gerbil may have a fever or be lethargic.

Tail slip can be determined in part by a loss of fur and exposed skin or exposed bone in the area. It is mostly caused by improper handling that caused a tail injury in pet gerbils.

Why do gerbils tails fall off?

Gerbil’s tails fall off as a defense mechanism. When they were in the wild, it helped them escape from predators like cats and lizards if they were caught.

This can happen in other rodents and animals as well like squirrels. It can be perfectly normal in your pet even if they aren’t attacked by prey.

Only one treatment for infection of your gerbil’s tail

There are a few things that can cause a gerbil’s tail to fall off. One possibility is an infection in the tail tissue. Gerbils are susceptible to a number of different types of infections, and an infection in the tail can lead to the death of the underlying tissue and the eventual loss of the tail.

Wound from poor handling of your gerbils tail

Another possible cause is a wound. If your gerbil has been injured and the wound is not healing properly, the tail may fall off as a result. This may be caused by improper handling. Or, if a predator grabs their tail in the wild. Hopefully, this is not an issue in a domestic setting.

two gerbils in a metal cage

How to prevent tail slip

  • Speak to a veterinarian about proper handling of your gerbil.
  • Never pick up your gerbil by its tail or grab them roughly.
  • Use a glass tank so they don’t get their tail caught in the metal cage.
  • Feed them a healthy diet of gerbil pellets.
  • Watch for fighting with other gerbils if you have more than one gerbil.
  • Supervise your children around your pets. Teach them to handle your gerbil properly.

Oh no, my gerbil's tail fell off! Learn more about your gerbil's tail, why your gerbil tail fell off, and what the underlying issue is.

Birth defect

Finally, some gerbils are born with malformed tails. In these cases, the tail may not be able to support the weight of the gerbil and it will eventually fall off.

If your gerbil’s tail falls off, the first thing you should do is take your gerbil to the vet. The vet will be able to determine the underlying cause of the tail loss and provide treatment if necessary. You may need to consult an exotic vet who has experience in dealing with rodents.

In most cases, however, the tail will grow back on its own. Just make sure to keep a close eye on your gerbil and watch for any signs of infection.

holding a pet gerbil in a blue blanketHow to hold a pet gerbil

If you must pick up your gerbil, always use a cloth or your hand to support their torso and hindquarters. Do not pick them up by their tail. You can also place them in a small container and transport them that way.

Gerbils are prey animals and they can become stressed if you handle them improperly. It is important to be gentle and calm when you are handling them.

Never grab your gerbils. And, if your gerbil seems agitated or fearful, put them down and give them some time to calm down.

If you have concerns about your gerbil, please speak to your veterinarian. You may want to consider finding a vet that specializes in small animals.

Small animal tips

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