Why Is My Gerbil Squeaking? {What Does It Mean?}

Are you hearing squeaks from your gerbil? Are they repeated or isolated from time to time? In this article, we’ll discover how squeaks are a sign of communication and what they may actually mean.

Why Is My Gerbil Squeaking? Gerbils squeak out of fear, excitement or perceived danger. They may squeak when we try to pick them up. This form of communication is usually defensive and helps to warn or alert others to back away, hide or flee. 

What Do Gerbil Noises Sound Like?

Gerbils make all sorts of noises. They can be forms of communication or signs of threat and stress. Gerbils will:

  • Squeak out of fear, perceived threats or for protection 
  • Yip when excited
  • Thump to ward off intruders
  • Purr out of happiness
  • Chirp to alert others
  • Click due to sickness 

The sounds you hear become much more pronounced the longer you get to know each other and bond together. The better you distinguish between them, the better you can offer your help and care.

How Do Gerbils Communicate?

Gerbils reside in large burrow systems underground with many of their counterparts. Their actions and movements offer a lot in their ways of communication, but they are also quite vocal.

The sounds you hear that seem to be chirping, yipping or squeaking could mean multiple things in different contexts. Feelings are displayed through these noises.

The volume and severity of each noise adds an extra tone of seriousness or excitement. Purring would be most welcomed because it usually indicates how relaxed or happy your gerbil is with you.

What Does Squeaking Mean In Gerbils?

A squeak comes out high pitched and could be for the purpose of alerting us or anyone nearby. Do you hear a single squeak or repeating squeaking?

The more you hear it, the more severe their reaction is to something causing worry or fear. Squeaking could also happen during arguments or fights between gerbils.

Your gerbil may squeak at:

  • pets
  • other gerbils
  • your hand
  • the TV
  • no one

A solitary gerbil that is squeaking at nothing or no one that you can see, may indicate stress, loneliness or pain.

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Do Gerbils Like To Be Picked Up?

If your gerbil is squeaking at you when you pick it up, this could mean that it’s time to gently put it back down. Squeaks are usually not positive sounds. They indicate danger or discomfort.

We would like to stand corrected in cases where squeaks are a result of intense excitement or happiness to seeing you or a pleasant occurrence. The suggestions below may help anyone who wishes to pick up a gerbil.

  1. Scoop up your gerbil instead of picking it up from above. 
  2. If a gerbil’s paws are close together, don’t pick it up. 
  3. A thumping gerbil would like you to back off for now. 
  4. Pulling its tail is strongly discouraged. 

Paws together or thumping shows us that the gerbil feels threatened in most cases, even if there is nothing to be worried about. You can always try again later when you gerbil is purring, chirping or yipping.

How Do I Know If My Gerbil Is Excited?

Squeaking is one sign that your gerbil is excited. Is this a positive level of excitement? Squeaking may end up being associated with negative feelings of fear or worry.

If your gerbil is also showing these signs below, then you may have a happier, excited gerbil instead:

  • jumping 
  • yipping and squeaking 
  • contact with your hand to be picked up
  • racing around the cage 

Is My Gerbil Purring or Shaking?

A gerbil that is shaking could be stressed or cold. It’s easy for gerbils to suddenly feel a drop in temperature.

Hypothermia can and will occur quickly when temperatures dip below 65°F and there isn’t enough enclosure or bedding to burrow and keep warm.

Purring is not coupled with signs of illness or stress such as loss of appetite, diarrhea, fur loss. Purring that is standalone without any other symptoms indicates general happiness and comfort.

Why Is My Gerbil Noisy?

Your gerbil could get noisier when you are around in its effort to communicate with you. Your attention is needed right now for some of the following possibilities:

  • “Let’s play.”
  • “Pick me up.”
  • “I’m hungry.”
  • “Pet me.”

These squeaks are gentler or resemble chirping. A louder or repetitive squeak could mean the opposite and your gerbil needs some extra space right now. You can dim the lights and back away for a moment to see if it stops.

Why Is My Gerbil Thumping?

A gerbil that is thumping its hind feet or front paws can get loud and noticeable. The pounding may speed up and become a pattern. It serves to warn other gerbils that there is danger or to stake out dominance over the group.

Thumping can scare off other gerbils in one level and speed or attract a potential mate with another degree of pulsation.

Thumping is stronger and scarier for gerbils to perform over squeaking which is more associated with being scared.

Why Is My Gerbil Clicking?

Clicking noises could be associated to illness. Look for any possible symptoms that are couple with clicking such as:

  • runny eyes or nose
  • difficulty breathing
  • wheezing 
  • excessive sneezing or coughing 
  • high body temperature
  • lack of appetite
  • fur loss
  • excessive hiding

Sometimes clicking is temporary, but when it’s prolonged and there are other noticeable signs in the above list, then it might be time to take your gerbil to the vet.


It’s impossible to clearly understand what our gerbils are trying to tell us, but we get a lot better with time and experience. We understand the context of each sound and try to associate it with another sign or symptom.

Gerbils love to communicate and sometimes they are trying to get our attention for some bonding time. Offering treats, petting, picking up and communicating back with your gerbil are great habits when your gerbil is receptive.

Sometimes a squeak means to back away or create a more comfortable situation for your gerbil to relax, purr, chirp and play happily in its enclosure.


Thank you for visiting HomePetHelp.com for information regarding gerbils and plenty of other pets that we greatly enjoy caring for. Please check out more articles that may interest you. See you next time!