You may know that the life expectancy of a Mongolian gerbil is not very high. Gerbils are considered elderly after the age of 3 and their needs may change.
Once having reached their golden years, gerbils tend to sleep more than usual. You should respect this new pattern and not wake them. It is also sometimes necessary to reduce the time spent outside of their habitat.
With age, your gerbils may be more likely to develop certain illnesses such as diarrhea or a tumor.
Make sure to always keep them in a space with our air currents or sudden changes in temperature. Ideally you should keep them in a room at 20°C.
Tumors occur more often in male gerbils than females because they often affect the stomach gland which is often large in males. Sometimes, the mass develops ulcers, and in this case you should take your gerbil to the veterinary as soon as possible to find the best solution for your little friend.
Also check their teeth regularly in case of a misalignment of the jaw. Younger gerbils will gnaw on anything not moving, so their teeth may be slightly damaged. As older gerbils will spend more time sleeping than nibbling, their teeth may become longer.
Older gerbils' nutritional needs are also different - their protein intake shouldn't exceed 13%. You should therefore reduce the quantity of insects to 2 per month.
Consumption of water may increase in elderly males but this is normal and is nothing to be concerned about.
Don't hesitate to fiddle with their habitat: toys placed lower down, ladders for easier accessibility, but keep the same quantity of hiding places. If any of your gerbils has arthrisis or paralysis, you can slightly reduce the thickness of their litter. This way, the mounds that they can make will be smaller and therefore be easier to climb for those who have difficulty moving.
Try not to disturb them by moving the items around in their den too often - they may become stressed if disturbed from their little habits.
Take care of your elderly gerbils as they are more fragile than before and therefore need more attention. Don't stress, however - just because they are old doesn't mean that they will become ill! It is better to prevent than to heal.