The golden agouti is the most common gerbil color. Mongolian gerbils take on this color in the wild as it helps them blend in with the desert sand.
Gerbils are some of the most adorable creatures in the world. They have small bodies but are highly energetic. The Mongolian gerbil is the most common species of gerbils found in the wild.
Gerbils live in deserts, grasslands, woodlands, and open areas. While most wild gerbils have agouti, gray, or lilac coat colors, domestication has made it possible to produce gerbils with a variety of colors.
This article discusses the different types of gerbil colors and their characteristics.
Types of Gerbil Colors
Selective breeding has led to the reproduction of the most demanded gerbil colors, including blue, lilac, and black gerbils. The dominant and recessive genes in gerbils’ DNA decide the coat colors.
Gerbils occur in nature in several colors, with golden agouti being the most common.
Natural selection, along with artificial breeding, has made it possible to produce gerbil babies with a variety of coat colors though.
Genetics plays a major role in artificial selection. All gerbil babies receive a coat color gene from both parents. These are either dominant or recessive.
Dominant colors include black, agouti, gray, and cream, while the recessive color includes white, dove, and nutmeg.
The combination of two dominant or two recessive genes leads to color mutations.
Here are the top 15 coat colors found in gerbils.
1. Agouti Gerbils
Agouti gerbils are widespread in the wild and at breeders across the globe. They have brown fur with some gray and orange running along their backs. They have white underbellies and black eyes.
They also have black-tipped ears and pink-colored paws.
There are three major sub-types of agouti gerbils you can find:
- Gray agouti: Light gray colored gerbils with black hair tips across their bodies.
- Colorpoint agouti: Nearly the same as gray agouti, but instead of black hair tips, they have brown tips and a dark tail. Their coat also gets darker in the winter.
- Colorpoint gray agouti: A cross between the two other agouti breeds and have light brown hair with dark tips and white underbellies.
2. Black Gerbils
Black gerbils are found in different types. They are either solid black color or black haired with some white patches.
Their lower jaw and paws can be fully white, along with their underbellies.
Young black gerbils have a dark slate color with pinkish bellies that eventually turn dark over time. Black gerbils have black eyes and little fuzz on their hair.
3. White Gerbils
White gerbils are some of the most popular gerbils. They are either fully white or have some variations on their bodies.
Some white gerbils have gray, black, or brown hairs on their noses, tails, and backs.
White gerbils usually have black, pink, or dark brown eyes.
4. Argent Gerbils
Argent gerbils have rich yellow and beige coats. They are also called golden argent. Most of these gerbils have a gray rump and a white underbelly.
There is also cream argent that has red eyes and pure white bellies. Their upper body is completely cream with no gray spots.
5. Lilac Gerbils
Lilac gerbils are rare due to their recessive color gene. They have dark gray coats with some white marks on their paws.
They also have red eyes giving their lilac bodies a unique look.
6. Dove Gerbils
Dove gerbils are rare, again because of their recessive gene. They don’t appear in the wild, as they are solely the result of artificial selection.
They have light-gray bodies with a pinkish tinge. The babies appear white when they are born but turn into total gray when they are fully grown. They also have red eyes.
7. Honey Gerbils
Honey gerbils resemble argent gerbils, except that they are lighter in color. Their light honey color with white underbellies provides an appealing combination.
There are three major types of honey gerbils:
- Dark-eyed honey: They have a deep orange coat, including their bellies, along with black eyes.
- Light dark-eyed honey: These gerbils have a lighter honey color but white-colored bellies along the sides.
- Honey cream: They have a creamy white color with lines and patches of honey on their coat. They also have a unique white diamond patch on their foreheads which adds to their beauty.
8. Nutmeg Gerbils
Nutmeg gerbils have a brown and orange mix coat with black or brown hair tips all over their bodies.
They have black eyes and are found in two sub-types:
- Silver nutmeg: Has a gray undercoat instead of orange and has only black tips.
- Colorpoint nutmeg: White with grey patches on their paws, ears, and noses. These gerbils also have gray-colored eyes.
9. Polarfox Gerbils
Polarfox gerbils have a coat with mixed colors. The main colors include pink, gray, and peach giving them a fascinating look.
They have black eyes, ears, and hair tips.
10. Burmese Gerbils
These gerbils have brown coats and pinkish-gray skin. Their noses, paws, tails, and ears are dark brown.
Burmese gerbils also have dark brown eyes.
11. Slate Gerbils
They are sometimes confused with black gerbils but are different breeds. Their coat is dark gray and charcoal in color, which earns them their name.
Slate gerbils have black or dark brown eyes.
12. Siamese Gerbils
Siamese gerbils have light brown and gray-colored fur with dark shades on the base of their heads and tails.
There are two types of Siamese gerbils:
- Schimmel: Also known as orange Siamese due to the orange lines on their white coats. They have dark paws and creamy hair tips.
- Spotted Schimmel: Also called champagne gerbils due to their color resemblance with the drink. They have pink paws and white-tipped tails.
13. Sapphire Gerbils
Sapphire gerbils are some of the rarest types of gerbils in the world.
They have an off-white coat with a bluish tinge that gives the breed its name.
14. Pearl Gerbils
The pearl gerbil is a derivative of the white gerbil with some mutations.
They have a pure white coat with a blue, gold, and pink tinge.
15. Topaz Gerbils
Topaz is a type of stone used in jewelry that has a yellow color. Topaz gerbils have a warm color resembling gemstone and a white underbelly that emphasizes the warm hue.
They also have bright red eyes, which give them a nice contrast to their coat.
3 Types of Gerbil Patterns
Gerbils occur in nature in solid colors and simple patterns. The most common pattern among gerbils is the spotted coat followed by the pied and mottled patterns.
Now that we know the different types of gerbil colors, it is time to talk about the various coat patterns.
In the wild, gerbils usually occur in solid colors such as golden agouti and gray.
With the domestication of gerbils, there are now several types of coat patterns.
The spotted coat is the second most common pattern after the solid colors found in gerbils.
Gerbils with spotted patterns can have any coat color but have small white circles on their head, nose, ears, and nape.
Spotted gerbils can also have a diamond marking on their forehead, such as the honey cream gerbil.
The pied pattern means that the gerbils have different colored lines on their bodies.
Gerbils with these patterns can have any color, with white lines running sideways from their torso to their tails. They can also run from their neck and down their backs.
Gerbils with mottled patterns have small markings on their hindquarters and lower backs. The patches are usually white, but they can be of any color.
An even more mottled version of this pattern is called the heavy mottled pattern. Gerbils with this pattern have more color patches on their fur.
Gerbils are found in a variety of colors. Golden agouti is the most common. It is difficult to predict the exact coat color of a baby gerbil due to mutations from crossbreeding.
White, dove, and sapphire are among the recessive colors and are rare, while gray and agouti are dominant colors that are easily found in gerbils.
Gerbil coat color can turn darker or lighter with age. You can choose whichever gerbil you desire as the coat color does not affect the personality of gerbils.
Do Gerbils Change Color?
Yes, gerbils can change color with time. It does not mean that their coat turns into a completely different color. Your gerbil can lighten or darken its coat with time. A light brown gerbil can turn into a dark brown one when it becomes senile.
What Is the Best Gerbil Breed to Keep as Pets?
The Mongolian gerbil and the fat-tailed gerbil are the only two species usually kept as pets. The fat-tailed gerbil is more docile and has a longer lifespan than the Mongolian gerbil. The only downside with fat-tailed gerbils is their availability. They are not easily available due to their scarcity which is why most people prefer to get a Mongolian gerbil as their pet.