Many gerbil owners panic when it looks like a gerbil has a bloody eye or a bloody nose. It's no wonder this causes concern, because it can look quite scary if you don't know why it happened.

The good news is that most of the time, what you're seeing isn't actually blood. This is because gerbil tears and mucous are red, unlike human tears and mucous, which are clear.

A gerbil with a watery eye
Hope got a bit of dust in her eye, and it watered briefly. Although it looks like blood, the red near her eye was actually from tears.
A gerbil that has a bit of red “goop” near an eye probably got a bit of dust in the eye, and it watered, just like your eye would water if you got a piece of dust or sand in your eye. Because gerbil tears are red, though, it can look like your gerbil has a little bit of blood on the fur near the eye.

Likewise, if your gerbil has a runny nose, it may actually look like a bloody nose. This is because you gerbil's mucous is red. Unless you see a scratch or other sign of an injury, what you see near your gerbil's eye or nose probably isn't blood.

Things To Consider
Although it's a relief to know that the red stuff around your gerbil's eye or nose probably isn't blood, you should still be concerned, especially if the problem doesn't go away within a couple of hours. If you think about when your eyes water and your nose runs, it's often when you are either sick or have an allergy.

If your gerbil looks like he has blood near his eye or on his nose, you may need to switch to a different type of bedding, because your gerbil might be allergic to the bedding you're using. Although a gerbil can be allergic to any type of bedding, very few gerbils are allergic to corncob bedding, so this is a good type to try if your gerbil has a watery nose or water eyes.

We'd also strongly suggest that you consider taking your gerbil to the vet. Your vet can rule out a cold or respiratory illness and may be able to help you determine the cause of your gerbil's watery eyes or runny nose.

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