Do Gerbils Like Music?

Gerbils and Music

The frequencies that gerbils hear in music vary from that of a human. Their hearing ranges between 100 to 60,000 Hz frequencies. However, certain types of music can stress your gerbil out.

Out of the senses that a gerbil has, hearing and smell are the most highly tuned. The sensitivity of a Gerbil’s hearing is extremely important. This is what they use to communicate most often. Communication between gerbils is almost a constant activity. Their communication allows them to express dominance, mating, their boundaries, and how they play.

One important fact, when a gerbil communicates with other gerbils, a human will not be able to hear the vocalizations. This is because a gerbil’s vocalizations are done in an ultrasonic manner. This means that it is way above the level of hearing that a human has.

According to Scientific research, a gerbil has 13 distinct syllables, or words, and those will range between 5,000 Hz and 50,000 Hz. A human can hear up to 20kHz, but we can hear the best when it is below 5Hz.

This means that even when you are speaking to your gerbil, they may be responding, but you will only hear the lowest of the vocalizations the gerbil makes.

The hearing sense is so important to a gerbil, that is born in the wild with no sense of hearing, the gerbil would likely not make it very long. They would be unable to hear a predator approaching. Due to the extreme sensitivity of this sense, a gerbil can hear all the noises that are made in our homes.

Music that is too loud will likely cause great stress to a gerbil. It may also damage the hearing sense. Out of the many types of rodents, a gerbil has the broadest sense of hearing. Meaning it can hear more than the average house mouse, field mouse, or many others.

When it comes to the human voice, a gerbil will hear most of our sounds, except the lowest ones. The opposite of what we hear when they communicate with one another.


Gerbils and Music

When it comes to hearing human music, a gerbil will hear 60Hz, which would be the lowest bass notes they hear, to 20kHz, the highest of the harmonics they can hear. When you consider that most of the musical notes lay between 120 Hz and 2 kHz, it is safe to say that they hear it all. The difference between humans and gerbils is that we hear the bass and they can’t. They can hear higher pitches than we can.

Stressful Noise

Gerbils and Music

You may not realize this, however, even if you cannot hear it, many items in your home make noise that gerbils can hear. These sounds are ultrasonic noises that we are unable to hear. Some of these items include, but are not limited to:

  • Televisions
  • Fluorescent lights
  • Devices meant to deter pests and rodents
  • Stereos and the speakers
  • Running water

Do Gerbils Like Music?

Gerbils and Music

We just saw that gerbils can hear the music, but do they enjoy hearing music the way humans do? Music is an activity and experience that all humans go through and have for tens of thousands of years. Our music changes with our moods, Science has been able to show evidence that gerbils and other animals respond to music also.

The research that has been done has not specifically focused on gerbils, however. Rats, mice, and other rodents have been subjected to the research. The research that has been completed on rodents has shown some amazing effects of music on rodents. Some of these include, but would not be limited to just these,

  • Positive effects on brain structure and chemistry after having a stroke
  • Helps to calm them down in the laboratory room or setting
  • Helps to improve their immune system
  • Help them learn with a quicker capability
  • Improves spatial memory

Of the research done, the results have shown that music can help the gerbil or other rodents in ways humans could not conceive of previously. This does not mean that it would cure all problems with your gerbil if any. What this means is that Science has based the results on the rodent species, but not gerbils in particular. They have seen many positive effects on rodents.


Gerbils and Music

Like humans, gerbils react differently to types of music. The behaviour of gerbils may vary greatly also.

 Many owners have stated that slow and soft music helps to calm a hyper gerbil down, it relaxes them and helps them to fall asleep. While the behaviour of other gerbils may include running to the wall of the cage to see what the sound is, and where it is coming from. Others stop whatever they are doing and seem to be in a daze.

It is widely believed that gerbils will determine which music they enjoy, and what music they do not like. This is more so of developing a taste for certain types of music. The only way to know which music your gerbil likes is to play around with the music.

For instance Day 1 could be classical. Keep notes on the way your gerbil reacts. For the next few days play different music each day and make note of the reactions. By the end of the week, you should be able to determine which genre of music is best suited for your gerbil.


Gerbils and Music

Since research has been done, it has shown that classical music is, for the most part, the favourite genre of music for gerbils and other rodents. Classical music is a calming and relaxing type of tune, with a rhythm that gerbils and other rodents seem to be attracted to.

Again, the higher frequencies, not higher volumes, necessarily, are what is best since a gerbil does not hear as many of the lower bass or frequencies. High pitched music can seriously stress a gerbil. Not only because it is such a high pitch, but also because it interferes with the way they communicate with fellow gerbils.

As far as volume, you need to keep in mind that high-pitched sounds are harsh for a gerbil and the sensitivity of hearing. When volume is played at what a human considers low, it could be too high for a gerbil. This may cause them stress without it being the genre of music.

Loud Rock music can create immediate stress and it could also impair the immune system of a gerbil. Your gerbil could become anxious or frantic if the volume is too loud, it is likely hurting the ears. It may not seem to matter what type of music you play when the gerbil is in the room, what is important is that the volume is kept low to not cause stress or hurt the gerbil in any way.

As stated, it may seem that some gerbils have no concern over the type of music. You may have two gerbils and find that they react differently to the same type of music. Personality may affect the way a gerbil reacts to music. If they are calm normally, music may not disturb them. If they seem to be anxious by nature, music may be something that they can not handle.

Best Types of Music

Gerbils and Music

Again, different gerbils will react differently to the genres of music, no different than a human does. Some will prefer Classical, some like Pop, some may prefer Country. This is when it is best to do the previously mentioned test to determine which genre has the best reaction from your gerbil.

On average, the following types seem to be the best for gerbils and other rodents.

  • Meditation and sleep music
  • Classical, such as Mozart and Chopin
  • Easy Listening is often considered mood music
  • Chill-out music, which would be pop music, but with a slower tempo

Signs of Distress, Stress, or Fear

Gerbils and Music

Most gerbils do make it obvious when they are calm, or when they are scared, anxious, or curious. There are some signs to watch for when you first test out the music or the first time playing new music. The following are some ways to tell if your gerbil is experiencing fear, anxiety, panic, or stress.

  • Frantic running around the cage
  • Hiding
  • Urinating or dropping faeces more often
  • Stomping or thumping the feet
  • Squeaking
  • Standing on the hind legs and holding front paws together

If you notice any of the above signs are shown by your gerbil, turn off the music and give your gerbil time to calm down and relax for a short time. When you turn the music back on, be sure that it is on low volume and a different type of genre.

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Our website does not constitute medical advice for pets, for medical advice for a pet please consult a licensed veterinarian.