Jerboa

Characteristics

Jerboas have 33 species of long-tailed jumping rodents. Their body measures 2 to 4 7/10 inch, and an additional 4/5 inch for their tails. They look like a mouse, but is far different from them. Some jerboas have long, big ears like rabbits, some have normal small ones similar to a mouse. Some are big, while others are small. However, all species have long hind legs, short forelegs similar to a kangaroo. They also have a very long tail, and their fur is silky or velvet, and has light color that matches the ground.

Habitat

These animals are commonly found in Eastern Europe, North Africa and parts of Asia on deserts and steppes. Jerboas create burrows near their food since they can create burrows near plants. During the rainy season, they will create tunnels in mounds so that they will avoid getting flooded by the rain.

Behavior

During the day, these rodents stay in their burrows. They will come out at night because of the cool temperature outside. Jerboas prefer to stay in their permanent burrow during the winter season and they will hibernate to survive the cold temperature. They are also known to be solitary creatures, but can still create “loose colonies” during the winter so that they can stay warm from the weather outside.

To communicate with other jerboas, these creatures will use dust bathing for chemical communication. They may also hear sounds and vibrations to communicate, which they can easily hear, especially for the long-eared jerboa.

Food

These animals are omnivorous, and will eat plants, seeds, sprouts, and at times they will eat insects.

Life Cycle

Jerboas mate after waking up from hibernation. The female jerboa may have two to six youngs after giving birth to them. Once her youngs are able to take care of themselves, they will leave their mother and live a solitary life.

Other Information and Tips

Jerboas are wild animals that should stay outdoors. However, some jerboas are being sold as exotic animals that are treated as pets. Taking care of a jerboa may provide difficulties since little is known about their behavior. When they are enclosed and placed in one group, those that were introduced later in the group may be killed or bullied because most of the pack will not accept the new one. Problems may arise in raising jerboas since they are not like hamsters or gerbils that can be made as pets.


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