How to Nip Nipping in the Bud?

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How to Nip Nipping in the Bud? Empty How to Nip Nipping in the Bud?

Post by Blessed on Thu 23 Aug 2018, 10:35 pm

I know the title is comical, but the situation isn't. Razz
I just recently got a male gerbil supposedly about two-months old, and as soon as I put him in the tank, he made himself right at home!, exploring and all that...really not shy at all. He seem(ed)s friendly, but he really has a terrible "habit" of nipping me hard. I know any rodent that comes into our house doesn't seem to like me, as I've been bitten by nearly all of them, but his behavior doesn't seem normal!
@CallaLily, since I know you have quite a few gerbils, then I'll ask you this question: Are any of them nippers?
All my mice have bitten me, but I'm not afraid of them and still trust them (okay, there was one or two mice I didn't trust). Like, I can put my finger in front of their face without worrying about being bit, but I can't do that with hamsters... Doh  I don't trust those little short-tailed things, lol. Are gerbils normally like the hamsters, or the mice? (Like is it typical for them to just bite you like the hamsters may do?)
The gerbil is very nice and good with Natalie, but not with me (but being good with Natalie is what counts!, so that's OK for now).
Returning him isn't something I want to do, but am a little tempted to...though hopefully I won't. So, how could I get him to stop attacking me? That's practically what he's doing! ... I put my hand in there and attempt to softly stroke him, and he's turning around and biting me. It hurts a lot, but apparently he hasn't done it hard enough to break the skin, 'cause he really hasn't made me bleed...Yet.
He's not scared of me, either; he just literally seems out to get me, lol, or just enjoys biting. Earlier he literally latched onto my finger and wouldn't let go! Super surprisingly, the skin still wasn't punctured enough to bleed. Shocked
And another thing that's actually a bit scary is, he doesn't just bite my finger like normal rodents who bite people...he'll bite pretty much any part of my hand as well. :/ He also seems to love viciously biting my ring on one of my fingers.
But anyways, what could I do to teach him that's not okay? Is there anything I could do? He's still new, and fairly young, so hopefully there is. Do you guys have any suggestions other than me putting on a glove every time I reach my hand in the cage, or returning him? Undecided

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Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. - Psalms 119:1-2.
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Post by CallaLily on Fri 24 Aug 2018, 9:37 am

Ouch! Since he so new, perhaps just time and patience will work? Instead of reaching directly for him to try to pet him, have you tried just sitting your hand still and allowing him to come to it? Also, perhaps like with mice, things will go smoother in a neutral play area until he’s more used to you. Try to look at it as he’s just nervous, not necessarily being mean. I feel like that’s more likely since he’s so new. Make sure your hands are clean and don’t smell like food or other pets.

None of my gerbils have tried biting at all so far. I may have just gotten lucky because I remember the one employee where I adopted them from said she “never trusts a gerbil.” So maybe it’s common? I’ve only been keeping gerbils since April so I don’t have much experience. I approach taming them pretty much the same way I do with mice. I do it on their time, allowing them to come to me. I never grab and don’t hand feed treats. They still don’t like for me to lift them so I use a jar to move them over to the play bin. They caught on quick to that and hop right in. But they’re usually pretty quick to come over and sniff me and put paws in my hand. I don’t mind that they’re happier playing near me rather than being held.

I hope things improve. Good luck!

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Post by Blessed on Fri 24 Aug 2018, 10:38 pm

I have just rested my hand in the tank, and he'll come over and starts nipping/biting me.. Scratch

That's good to hear about yours! =) My gerbil has sat on my hand and ate a treat, and he'll happily climb up my arm as far as he can, which isn't very far, when I put a glove on to protect my hand. Razz The worker who sold him to us told us she was actually working on taming him, so he is a "bit friendlier" and may come onto your hand, is what she said. What she didn't say is that he's a biter.  Laughing  But maybe he never bit her; maybe he wasn't as comfortable at the store?

Anyways, thanks a lot for replying. I appreciate the help and suggestions! Very Happy Maybe patience is key. Smile

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Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. - Psalms 119:1-2.
Oh, aren't we blessed? =)
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