Gimli - The Toothless Gerbil

Help Support RabbitsOnline:

Boz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
1,438
Reaction score
1
Location
, Wisconsin, USA
Okay not entirely toothless, but you'll see as you read! lol

Meet Gimli (named after the dwarf in the Lord of The Rings):


He came from a pet store. He was all by himself in a tank with cedar bedding. I almost got him but ended up walking out of the pet store without him. I wasn't sure if I should get a gerbil from a pet store... But he was all alone and hand-shy and needed someone who could work with him and I had been looking for a gerbils for months. So that night, about 5 minutes before the store was closing I was like "Okay I'll get him!" I went back and got him. I wasn't sure if I should have gotten a pet store gerbil but he's turned out to be a fun little guy. Plus after today, if it wasn't for me, he probably would have died within the next week. Why? I'll tell you why...

Last week Wed I went out of town till today. I did the normal, cleaned all tanks and cages. Stocked up the hamsters and gerbils with food and water and gave Gimli tons of cardboard and hay to chew and keep him happy. I had someone coming to take care of the bunnies daily while I was gone so they were to check to make sure the hamsters and gerbil had water (they had plenty of food!). Well I came back today and did my normal check- all hamsters and rabbits alive and not looking sick. I looked in Gimli's tank and I noticed that the hay and the cardboard had never been chewed up. And if your a gerbil owner you know that's just bizarre. And the toilet paper for nesting material was only pulled down into his little hut, not shredded. Then I noticed, heck his food looked untouched! I thought, oh no, he's dead. I tapped on the glass. Nothing. Tapped some more, and saw movement in his hut! He poked his little nose out and then came out. He did not look so good. He was a little "puffy".

He went over and drank some water. Okay good, he's drinking. I offered him some sunflower seeds. He kinda fumbled with it then dropped it. I gave him more. Nothing. Then I thought... are his teeth over grown or something? So I got some baby rice cereal and KMR (got some extra from when I had the baby hamsters) and mixed that up and gave him a little. He licked that right up no problem!

So I looked at his teeth. You're not going to believe what I saw. Or better yet, you're not going to believe what I did not see- top teeth!! His top incisors are gone. Not broken, not chipped, gone.

I talked to a friend of mine who is like a gerbil-goddess and she had this happen several years ago and she said to basically do what I was doing. I have to grind up all his food and mix a little water with it enough to make it stick together. I asked her if the teeth ever grew back, she said no.

He's actually a lot better looking then he was this afternoon. He's much more alert and no longer puffy looking after eating a few times! And he is pooping and peeing.

Poor little guy though. I feel so bad for him!! He can't chew anything anymore. But at least he won't lose his life. If the pet store still had him they probably would have never noticed anything because they even said they don't handle their animals.

How he lost his teeth is beyond me. Bad breeding maybe? Genetics? I can't imagine he did something while chewing. Gerbils have been known to chew the metal water bottle guards and still have their teeth!



 

Yield

leo (they/them)
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Messages
2,070
Reaction score
22
Location
USA
He's so cute :) Good thing he had you to come and rescue him! <3
 

akane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
Messages
237
Reaction score
13
Location
southeast, Iowa, USA
It's not uncommon and has a ton of possible causes. Majority center around poor nutrition which can include complete lack of sunlight. Genetics can play a part though and injuries are possibly although they usually grow back when just damaged through injury. There's a slight chance the teeth will still return and be healthy but usually once they've fallen out they keep doing so even after the gerbil is given better nutrition.

The bottom teeth will have to be trimmed probably at least once a month unless they also have issues and don't grow well.

There are a few pelleted foods that could easily be ground up or soaked in water. I used to soak pellets in blueberry Naked Juice for a toothless guinea pig. I think oxbow now has a pelleted diet for hamsters and gerbils. Personally it wouldn't be my first choice when feeding a normal gerbil or hamster since I believe they actually need a diet with more grain and seed whereas their pellets are timothy hay based with some grain but for this purpose it should be fine. Baby food can also be used as a supplement and reptile vitamins can be mixed in as needed. If giving a milk replacer as a supplement I prefer the formulas sold for goat kids over kmr for pretty much every animal anymore. It tends to be better balanced and more easily digested for most omnivores and herbivores. You can also get a gigantic tub of it for cheap. We've lost a lot less orphaned critters (pet or wildlife) since keeping the goat formula on hand instead of KMR.
 

Boz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
1,438
Reaction score
1
Location
, Wisconsin, USA
Thanks everyone! :D

And thanks akane for the info! I've been crushing his normal food and he's been eating it like a champ. I have also been mixing some baby food with his food. I agree gerbils need a diet that's a mixture of grain and seed rather then plain pellet.

I thought about his bottom teeth over growing. I'll watch that. You clip teeth yourself, right? I'll talk to my vet about it. :)

And I'm definitely keeping the goat milk in mind. KMR is so expensive!

Do you think that in the one month I had him I could have caused this with his food? I feed a mix more design for gerbils but I also feed it to my hamsters. They all have done wonderfully on it so far. I believe the pet store I got him front fed rat/mice lab blocks. Could it have been caused by his mother not able to provide him with good nutrition too?
 

akane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
Messages
237
Reaction score
13
Location
southeast, Iowa, USA
It is possible to cut the teeth yourself if it has to be done frequently. It would be best to see a vet for instructions and suggested tools for doing so. I know some people do just use human fingernail clippers but I would seek some professional help since improperly trimming teeth can cause them to split.

It's hard to say where a nutrition problem started if you don't know the animal's full background. I've always fed my gerbils pretty much the same thing as my hamsters. The only thing that might differ is the amount of fatty treats. I also know plenty of people who feed lab blocks but I don't think any feed exclusively that. They supplement with a grain and seed mix and/or fresh fruits and vegetables. I suppose a problem with early nutrition could have made it more likely to happen. Generally it takes a rather long time for nutritional deficiencies to cause serious problems. Probably weeks to months of a very poor diet.
 

Boz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
1,438
Reaction score
1
Location
, Wisconsin, USA
Thanks! That makes me feel a little better. lol

I was on youtube and found this video, although I will talk to my vet first before trying anything!

[flash=425,344]http://www.youtube.com/v/ovgLozaAYbc&hl=en&fs=1[/flash]
 

tonyshuman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2007
Messages
10,313
Reaction score
97
Location
Durham, NC, USA
The genetics that go around in gerbils are just horrendous. I love the little guys, don't get me wrong, but it is not at all uncommon for people who own certain cold-blooded animals to purchase 2-4 gerbils of mixed gender and keep them as a breeding colony, IYKWIM. At the shelter we've gotten large groups of gerbils raised in that way for this purpose, and often they have all kinds of genetic defects from unregulated breeding within a small gene pool. If a gerbil can be born with stubby/missing front arms because of this, a gerbil could definitely be born without front teeth for the same reason.
 

Boz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
1,438
Reaction score
1
Location
, Wisconsin, USA
Yeah I know! Gerbils can have numbers of different genetic defects. Two that come to find are a "fixed wrist" or a kinked tail. It's sad really.

You can tell he comes from bad breeding (aka pet store breeding). He's got a slight kink in his tail and one of his front fingers always sticks up like if he holds onto something the one pinky finger doesn't close around it. Guess it could also be from an old injury when he was younger too.
 

Boz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
1,438
Reaction score
1
Location
, Wisconsin, USA
I've posted an update about him in my blog (link under my profile). It's great news!! :D
 

kherrmann3

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
Messages
6,466
Reaction score
10
Location
Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA
I'm watching your new blog, but I figured that I would post here, too! :) He's ADORABLE, toofless and all! :D He's such a lucky little guy to have "found" you!
 

Boz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
1,438
Reaction score
1
Location
, Wisconsin, USA
Thanks!! :D Lucky for him he won't be toothless forever!! They are growing back! :D
 

Latest posts

Top