Do Gerbils Like Light or Dark? (Ok, Let's Not Kid Ourselves...)

Do Gerbils Like Light or Dark

Curious about whether gerbils prefer light or dark environments for their cages?

Ever wondered why it matters? 😊

Don't worry, I've got you covered.

Let's dive right into this mysterious world of gerbil whims and find some answers together.

Do Gerbils Like the Dark?

However, it must be clear that gerbils are not like owls or bats who only come out at night.

In fact, they can adapt their sleep schedule and function well during the day.

So, don't worry about using a light in their cage to keep them awake at night.

Gerbils are perfectly fine with the dark!

Furthermore, these little creatures can be active and playful whether it is daytime or nighttime.

Do Gerbils Like the Dark?
Gerbils dig the dark! Give 'em hiding spots like tunnels or igloos, make 'em feel secure. Throw in some toys and social buddies, they love mixin' it up. And hey, don't sweat it if you don't use a light in their crib, these little guys are flexible with their snooze time.

Therefore, you should give them opportunities for socializing and entertainment throughout the day.

To ensure your furry companion remains happy and healthy, ensure their cage has plenty of toys and things to chew on. Not only will this keep them entertained, but it will also contribute to their overall enjoyment of life.

Loneliness can have a significant impact on gerbils, so you ought to provide them with some companionship.

Consider having more than one gerbil, as they are social animals and enjoy being around their own kind.

Since gerbils naturally burrow, giving them dark hiding spots like tunnels or igloos will make them feel even more secure and comfortable in their surroundings.

And if you're wondering about keeping your gerbil active and entertained, you'll definitely want to check out my article on Gerbils and Exercise.

Are Gerbils Sensitive to Light?

Gerbils have extraordinary visual abilities.

Those sensitive eyes of theirs are finely tuned to spot even the slightest shifts in light and motion.

That's what makes them such perceptive little creatures.

But here's a reminder—heat can be their enemy.

Gerbils are susceptible to heatstroke, so it's vital to shield them from high temperatures.

Keep excessive sunlight at bay to protect their well-being and keep those cute little critters thriving.

The Unique Eye Structure of Gerbils


Let me tell you something fascinating about gerbils' eye structures.

Pay attention, okay?

Unlike other mammals, gerbils lack a fovea that affects their detailed vision up close.

But hey, don't worry, they make up for it in other ways!

With their rounded and sizable eyes, gerbils have both rods and cones.

Now here's where it gets interesting - they have more rods than cones, which means they excel at seeing in low light situations. Yep, these little creatures thrive in the dark like true superheroes.

But hold on, there's more to it...

It's likely that gerbils experience red-green colorblindness.

So, showing them a rainbow might not be as entertaining as you thought.

The Unique Eye Structure of Gerbils
Gerbils have a cool eye setup that makes them ace in the dark, they can even spot UV light and leave their scent marks that glow under UV. Although they might not rock at depth perception, you can make a sweet cage for them by keeping the lights dim and adding UV-friendly decors or smells.

Oh, here's a fun fact:

Gerbils can actually see UV light.

Can you believe it?

Talk about having some special powers!

This ability enhances their visibility during certain times of the day. Pretty cool, right?

Although, let me tell ya, having their eyes on opposite sides of their heads restricts their vision somewhat.

Sadly, they have very little depth perception.

Accuracy in estimating distances isn't really their strong suit, I'm afraid.

But hey, on the bright side, gerbils heavily rely on their sense of smell.

And guess what?

They even use scent marks that are visible under UV light to mark their territory.

These furry little guys sure know how to maneuver through their world!

And it gets even more intriguing when we explore the unique sleep patterns and preferences of gerbils.

Ever wondered how these adorable creatures adapt their schedules to fit in with their owners?

Let's dive right in and discover the fascinating world of gerbil sleeping habits!

The Versatile and Adaptable Sleep Patterns of Gerbils

Gerbils have an intriguing sleep pattern.

They snooze for about 6 hours during the day, and another 6 hours at night. It's like they sync up with your own schedule.

Pretty thoughtful, right?

But here's the deal:

Gerbils are actually night owls by nature.

They thrive in the dark, although some might be more active during the day.

The Versatile and Adaptable Sleep Patterns of Gerbils
Gerbils adapt to your sleep. Sync their 6-hour naps with yours. They love the dark, no need for more light. Keep them cool, use aspen shavings for bedding, think about getting a buddy, and keep them entertained for a happy gerbil.

And guess what?

They don't need any extra light to function at night.

They're perfectly content in the dark!

Now, let me give you some handy tips to ensure your gerbil gets the sleep it needs:

  1. Keep things cool for them. Gerbils prefer lower temperatures, especially in hot climates. So try to keep their cage in a cool room or basement if you can.
  2. Opt for aspen shavings as bedding. This is highly recommended by gerbil experts.
  3. Companionship matters. Gerbils may benefit from having a buddy, so consider getting two instead of just one!
  4. Keep them entertained with activities like digging and playing to regulate their energy levels. Gerbils also enjoy sand baths.

Spending quality time together during the day will strengthen the bond between you and your gerbil.

These adorable creatures can even recognize their owners and important cues, making the experience of having them as pets truly remarkable!

And it gets better - there's more to know about gerbils and their unique characteristics!

In the next section, we'll delve into their exceptional hearing abilities and explain why providing them with a quiet environment is crucial for their well-being.


Let's dive in!

The Night Vision of Gerbils

In fact, gerbils find it easier to warm up than cool down.

So ensure you don't expose them to excessive heat, as it can be harmful to their well-being.

Now, let's talk about their vision in the dark.

You might be wondering, can gerbils see in the dark?

Well, the answer is yes!

Gerbils have a good all in all eyesight, including the ability to see in low light conditions. But don't expect them to have the same sharp night vision as nocturnal animals like owls or bats.

They won't be able to spot that pesky mosquito buzzing around in the dark like a superhero.

However, compared to humans, gerbils have superior night vision.

So, while they may not have x-ray vision like Superman, they can still navigate and explore their environment when the lights go out.

Can Gerbils See in the Dark?
Gerbils see better in the dark than you do, but don't expect them to save the night. Give them a nice, cozy cage that's dark enough for a good sleep.

Now, here's an interesting tidbit:

Gerbils actually prefer darkness for restful sleep.

Just like those days when you just want to snuggle under the blankets and shut out the world, gerbils also enjoy their dark and cozy time.

So, if you want your gerbil to get a good night's sleep and wake up refreshed and ready for some fun playtime with you, ensure their cage provides a dark and peaceful sleeping environment.

Oh, and one more thing before we wrap up.

If you're thinking of training your gerbil, using small treat sizes is recommended.

These little creatures are sensitive, so giving them tiny treats will not only make training easier but also prevent them from overeating.

That's all for now. Hope you found this information helpful!

Keep your gerbil happy and healthy, and I'll catch you in the next post.

And now, let's delve deeper into the topic of light and dark environments for gerbils' cages.

I can provide you with some essential tips to ensure your furry friends have a healthy circadian rhythm and get the restful sleep they need!

Should I Leave a Light on for My Gerbils?

Should you leave a light on for your gerbils?

Let's shed some light on that.

Creating the perfect environment for your gerbils is crucial. Mimicking their natural habitat keeps them healthy and happy.

They need natural light, but not direct sunlight.

Leave a dim light source in their enclosure, like a red bulb or small night light, to maintain their circadian rhythm without disturbing their sleep.

That way, they feel right at home.

Sudden light changes can cause fear or foot thumping in gerbils.

So, gradually decrease the room's light to avoid unnecessary stress. They deserve peace and quiet.

Now, if you're going on vacation and leaving your furry friends behind, here's something you should consider - uncertain durations matter.

Should I Leave a Light on for My Gerbils?
Don't forget gerbils are desert critters - so, giving them loads of sunlight may not be their cup of tea. For a chill vibe that mimics their natural habitat, stick to softer lighting options like a wee red bulb or night light. This way, you'll keep their snooze game and body clock in check while they stay serene and happy.

Gerbils rely on routine and familiarity, so make it safe and familiar for them.

During their sleep, extra light isn't needed.

It disrupts their circadian rhythm and sleep cycle.

You don't want them stuck in an endless day, do you?

LED lights?


They hurt gerbils, and we don't want that.

Choose a dim light source like I mentioned before - a small night light or natural window light.

Gerbils need beauty sleep too.

Maintain their circadian rhythm with a dim light source in their enclosure, just ensure it doesn't mess with their slumbers.

It may not seem like much, but a dark environment at night ensures restful sleep.

And who doesn’t love a good snooze?


  1. Gerbils are social creatures that enjoy both day and night activities.
  2. Loneliness can greatly affect gerbils, so provide opportunities for socialization.
  3. Gerbils are comfortable in darkness and don't require light during nighttime.
  4. Protect gerbils from excessive sunlight to prevent heatstroke.
  5. Gerbils have unique eye structures that affect their vision.
  6. They rely heavily on their sense of smell and can see UV light.
  7. Gerbils have a sleep schedule of 6 hours during the day and 6 hours at night.
  8. They prefer cooler temperatures and may require supervision to control activity levels.
  9. Gerbils can recognize their owners and form strong bonds with them.
  10. Gerbils have good overall vision but their night vision is not as sharp.
  11. Avoid excessive heat and use small treat sizes for training gerbils.
  12. Simulate natural light conditions, but keep their cage shaded and avoid direct sunlight.
  13. Gradually decrease light in the room to avoid fearful reactions.
  14. Uncertain durations should be considered when leaving gerbils alone.
  15. Avoid LED lights and choose dim light sources like a red bulb or night light.

And that's all for today, folks!

If you wanna read more of my useful articles, I recommend you check out some of these: Can Gerbils Go Outside, Is My Gerbil Afraid of Me, Taming Nervous Gerbils, How Many Gerbils Can Live in One Cage, and Why Do Gerbils Sleep on Top of Each Other

Until next time,

-Alex Amber

Alex Amber

Hi there! I'm Alex, and this is my blog, Gerbil 101. As you've probably guessed by now, this is the go-to blog for all things gerbil, covering topics from gerbil care to food, drink, health, behavior, and so much more. I truly hope you find my care guides useful, as I put a lot of time into writing them!