The Jerboa is a very species and unique creature in itself. With the body of a mouse, legs like a Kangaroo, Tail like a money and ears like a rabbit. You would think this animal is made up of several animals but in fact, it is well adapted to the desert climate that it inhabits.
Depending on the species a Jerboa can weigh anywhere from just under one ounce (28 grams) to a few ounces. Making them light weight but with a small body which can range from 5 to 15 cm long (not including tail), this makes them very hard to spot. The long tail
which is most of the time longer than the whole of the body of the Jerboa, will be used to aid in balance when they are moving. They are very quick movers with their powerful hind legs, this adaptation allows them to run/hop up to 15 miles per hour. They are usually a light reddish/ yellow colour. The ears are especially long which in fact is 1/3rd up to the size of its head. They are nocturnal animals so their large eyes enable them to see at night time.
The jerboa’s range extends from Asia west southwestward across northern Africa. It often
favours arid sandy habitats such as the Gobi Desert, where temperatures may fall to near zero during the cold of winter, and the Sahara Desert, where temperatures may rise to more than 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the heat of summer. They spend their days hidden in burrows beneath the sand. During the heat of the day, they shelter in burrows. They create four separate types of burrow: two temporary, and two permanent. The temporary burrows are plain tubes used to escape predators during the night, tending to be just 10 to 20 cm which is 3.9 to 7.9 inches deep, unsealed and not camouflaged. Permanent daytime burrows are well-hidden and sealed with a plug of sand to keep heat out and moisture in, and are generally 20 to 50 cm which is7.9 to 20 inches long.
Jerboas do only have a short life span only 2 – 3 years in the wild. They are not endangered and due to the nocturnal nature of these animals, most people believe they are hunted by owls at night. In some parts of Asia, they are considered a pest to farmers so are killed by them. On the other hand, they are shy and small animals making it hard for them to be detected. Their diet will mainly consist of insects however they will feed on vegetation weather that is fruits or vegetables. You might be asking what happens with Jerboas water source in the desert? well, actually these rodents can live with near next to no water. They have adapted to take in water from the vegetables or fruits they consume but even if they don’t get this source of water then they will still be very healthy.
Mating season takes place during the summer. Jerboa breeds two times per mating season.After a gestation period of 25 – 35 days, it is though they will give birth to 2 – 6 offspring. It then takes 11 weeks for the offspring to actually jump. The males will tend to leave the female after mating but the females will look after the babies and make sure they are protected.
An Interesting Fact you didn’t know before reading this!!!
Britain used the jerboa as a mascot in World War II.