Picture of gerbil

Picture of gerbil DEFAULT

Mongolian gerbil

Species of mammal

"Gerbil" redirects here. For other uses, see Gerbil (disambiguation).

"Pet gerbil" redirects here. For other gerbil species, see Gerbillinae.

The Mongolian gerbil or Mongolian jird (Meriones unguiculatus) is a small rodent belonging to the subfamilyGerbillinae.[3] Their body size is typically 110–135mm, with a 95–120mm tail, and body weight 60–130g, with adult males larger than females.[4] The animal is used in science and kept as a small house pet. Their use in science dates back to the latter half of the 19th century, but they only started to be kept as pets in the English-speaking world after 1954, when they were brought to the United States. However, their use in scientific research has fallen out of favor.

Habitat[edit]

Mongolian gerbils inhabit grassland, shrubland and desert, including semidesert and steppes in China, Mongolia, and the Russian Federation.[5]

Soil on the steppes is sandy and is covered with grasses, herbs, and shrubs. The steppes have cool, dry winters and hot summers. The temperature can get up to 50 °C (122 °F), but the average temperature for most of the year is around 20 °C (68 °F).[6]

In the wild, these gerbils live in patriarchal groups generally consisting of one parental pair, the most recent litter, and a few older pups, sometimes the dominant female's sister(s) also live with them. Only the dominant females will produce pups, and will mostly mate with the dominant male while in estrus (heat), female gerbils are generally more loyal than male gerbils. One group of gerbils generally ranges over 325–1,550 square metres (0.08–0.38 acres).[7]

A group lives in a central burrow with 10–20 exits. Some deeper burrows with only one to three exits in their territory may exist. These deeper burrows are used to escape from predators when they are too far from the central burrow. A group's burrows often interconnect with other groups.[citation needed]

History[edit]

The first known mention of gerbils came in 1866, by Father Armand David, who sent "yellow rats" to the French National Museum of Natural History in Paris, from northern China. They were named Gerbillus unguiculatus by the scientist Alphonse Milne-Edwards in 1867.[2]

There is a popular misconception about the meaning of this scientific name, appearing both in printed works[8] and in websites,[9] due to the genus Meriones sharing the name with Greek warrior Meriones in Homer's Iliad; however, translations like "clawed warrior" are incorrect. The genus was named by Johann Karl Wilhelm Illiger in 1811,[10] deriving from the Greek word μηρος (femur). Combined with 'unguiculate', meaning to have claws or nails in Latin, the name can be loosely translated as 'clawed femur'.[11]

Gerbils only became popular pets in the English-speaking world after 1954, when 20 males and 26 females were brought to the United States from eastern Mongolia for scientific testing. Almost all pet gerbils today are descended from them. Gerbils were brought to the United Kingdom in 1964 from the United States.

In science[edit]

Gerbils have a long history of use in scientific research, although nowadays they are rarely used. For example, in the United Kingdom in 2017, only around 300 Mongolian gerbils were used in experimental procedures, compared to over 2 million mice.[12]

Tumblebrook Farm[edit]

Most gerbils used in scientific research are derived from the Tumblebrook Farm strain, which has its origins in 20 pairs of wild-caught Mongolian gerbils sent to Japan in 1935. Eleven of these animals were subsequently sent to Tumblebrook Farm in the USA, with additional animals later sent to Charles River Ltd in Italy in 1996.[13][14][15]

Hearing[edit]

Gerbils have a wide hearing range, from detection of low frequency foot drumming to higher frequency chirps and therefore may be a more suitable model of human hearing loss than mice and rats, which are high-frequency specialists.[16]

Vocal[edit]

Male gerbils can produce ultrasonic sounds with frequencies ranging from approximately 27 to 35 kHz and amplitudes ranging from approximately 0 to 70 dBa. Their larynx is involved in the production of these ultrasonic sounds. Experimentation revealed five findings of interest, which are that adults only emit ultrasonic sounds when stimulated socially, males signal more frequently than females, dominant males are more active in vocalizations than subordinate males, ultrasounds are triggered by conspecific odors, and d-amphetamine, a central nervous system stimulant, contributes high levels of ultrasounds and chlorpromazine, an antipsychotic medication, lowers the emission rate. In addition, there's been a relationship between the ultrasonic sounds and their ability to reproduce.[17]

Epilepsy[edit]

10–20% of gerbils exhibit spontaneous epileptiform seizures, typically in response to a stressor such as handling or cage cleaning.[18] Epilepsy in gerbils has a genetic basis, and seizure-prone and seizure-resistant lines have been bred.[19][20]

Diabetes[edit]

Like other desert rodents such as fat sandrats, Mongolian gerbils are susceptible to diet-induced diabetes, although incidence is low.[21] A diabetes-prone line has recently been generated, showing that gerbil diabetes has at least some genetic basis.[22][23]

Genetics and genomics[edit]

Laboratory gerbils are derived from a small number of founders, and so genetic diversity was generally assumed to be low. Initial genetic studies based on small numbers of genetic markers appeared to support this,[24][25] but more recent genome-wide Genotyping-by-Sequencing (GBS) data has shown that genetic diversity is actually quite high.[13] It has been suggested that laboratory gerbils should be considered domesticated, and designated "M. unguiculatus forma domestica" to differentiate them from wild animals.[26] A Mongolian gerbil genome sequence was published in 2018[27] and a genetic map comprising 22 linkage groups (one per chromosome) in 2019.[28]

Reproduction[edit]

These rodents are widely used as subjects of testing within laboratories for a plethora of different reasons.[29] These rodents are susceptible to carrying diseases and infections some transmitted sexually, much the subject of many experiments within labs.[30] In the wild, Wild Mongolian gerbils breed during the months of February and October. Males do not become sexually mature for about 70–80 days, while the vaginal opening occurs in females about 33–50 days after birth.[31] For other gerbils such as the hairy footed gerbil, sexual maturity has a slightly earlier and longer window of 60-90[32] days in comparison with a later and shorter window for Mongolian gerbils, 70–84 days.[31] Females reach sexual maturity shortly after this opening occurs. They experience oestrus cycles every 4–6 days. Mongolian gerbils are regarded as monogamous within science.[33] Even with this said, many Mongolian Gerbils have still been found in laboratory tests regarding their sexual reproduction behavior to have shown signs of "cheating" when not in contact with their initial mate in laboratory setting.[33] Cheating meaning showing signs of promiscuity and mating with other females while their monogamous partner is absent. Gerbils are for the most part selective when it comes to picking a mate for copulation; though their selection process occurs more rapid than other species due to the high amount of gerbil population and shorter life span. An average litter size for the Mongilian Gerbil would be around 4–8 pups, if the litter only contains around 1–2 young than the mother will neglect them and they will die from starvation.[33] Mongolian Gerbils are monogamous and mate with their selected partner for the rest of their time together, when one becomes widowed many gerbils refrain from seeking other mates to reproduce with.[33] Males generally find new mates whereas females don't. Obviously not every single gerbil is going to act the same after losing their mate but for the most part these rodents do not seek additional partners after the fact. When older females lose their mate they almost all of the time give up on seeking reproduction.[33] Their behavior tends to vary when faced with different settings, within the wild finding and selecting a mate is not a problem at all due to the high frequency of mates. Within a laboratory setting many gerbils tend to keep to themselves and refrain from copulation.[33]

Behavior[edit]

Gerbils are social animals, and live in groups in the wild.[34] They rely on their sense of smell to identify other members of their clan, so it is important to use what is commonly referred to as the "split tank method" (or splitcaging) when introducing gerbils from separate litters.[35] Gerbils are known to attack and often kill those carrying an unfamiliar scent.[36]

As pets[edit]

A gentle and hardy animal, the Mongolian gerbil has become a popular small house pet. It was first brought from China to Paris in the 19th century, and became a popular house pet there.[37] It was later brought to the United States in 1954 by Dr. Victor Schwentker for use in research.[38] Dr. Schwentker soon recognized their potential as pet animals.[39] Selective breeding for the pet trade has resulted in a wide range of different color and pattern varieties.[40] Gerbils became popular pets in the US around the late 1950s and were imported to the United Kingdom in 1964, where they became popular pets too.[41] They are now found in pet shops throughout the UK and the US.

However, due to the threat they pose to indigenous ecosystems and existing agricultural operations, it is illegal to purchase, import, or keep a gerbil as a pet in the U.S. state of California.[42] It is also illegal to import the animal into New Zealand.

Housing in captivity[edit]

Mongolian gerbils prefer to live in pairs or groups rather than alone. They are social and gentle, and do not bite readily. As diggers and tunnel-makers they are better suited to a tank with a deep substrate or bedding rather than a hamster cage, since the absorbent substrate is liable to be kicked up and out of a cage quickly.[citation needed]

Mongolian gerbils are also chewers and need plenty of cardboard items and chew toys; the cardboard will be chewed up into the bedding and mixed with the substrate. They do not need fresh food like vegetables and too much can actually give them diarrhea; a diet based on multiple seeds, e.g millet and alfalfapellet mix is sufficient.[citation needed]

Water should be provided with a drip-feed system to prevent an accidental build-up of harmful molds in the tank environment. Although gerbils are adapted to the desert, they require water to be supplied at all times to be safe and healthy. Care should be taken not to introduce new smells suddenly into the tank, because the tank is considered by the gerbils to be their territory. Gerbils are active and appreciate a running or exercise wheel. Repetitive corner digging can be minimized by providing tunnels while gerbils are in their young, formative months. As with most animals, they appreciate a secure, private area that is dark for sleeping.[43]

A common misunderstanding when purchasing a home for pet gerbils is they can live in housing designed for hamsters and mice. This is not correct, as they need to be able to dig tunnel systems, rather than have them created for them. The commonly plastic structure of hamster and mouse cages is inappropriate for gerbils due to their ability to gnaw through it very quickly. Plastic can cause serious health issues for the animal if ingested, therefore many owners refrain from having any plastic in the tank and rely entirely on wooden toys.[44] Information from gerbil societies from throughout the globe is conflicting with regards to tank sizing. However, a common minimum given appears to be 45 litres (10 imperial gallons) per gerbil.[44]

Reasons for popularity[edit]

The several reasons for the popularity of gerbils as household pets include: The animals are typically not aggressive, and they rarely bite unprovoked or without stress. They are small and easy to handle, since they are sociable creatures that enjoy the company of humans and other gerbils.[45][46] Gerbils also have adapted their kidneys to produce a minimum of waste to conserve body fluids, which makes them very clean with little odor. Gerbils have many different aesthetic coat patterns, such as pied slate, described below.

Health concerns[edit]

Teeth problems[edit]

Misalignment of incisors due to injury or malnutrition may result in overgrowth, which can cause injury to the roof of the mouth. Symptoms include a dropped or loss of appetite, drooling, weight loss, or foul breath.[47] The teeth must be clipped by a veterinarian regularly for as long as required.

Trauma[edit]

Common injuries are caused by gerbils being dropped or falling, often while inside of a hamster ball, which can cause broken limbs or a fractured spine (for which there is no cure).[47][48]

Neglect[edit]

A common problem for all small rodents is neglect, which can cause the gerbils to not receive adequate food and water, causing serious health concerns, including dehydration, starvation, stomach ulcers, eating of bedding material, and cannibalism.[47]

Epilepsy[edit]

Between 20 and 50% of all pet gerbils have the seizure disorder epilepsy.[49] The seizures are thought to be caused by fright, handling, or a new environment. The attacks can be mild to severe, but do not typically appear to have any long-term effects, except for rare cases where death results from very severe seizures.[50] A way to prevent a gerbil from having a seizure is to refrain from blowing in the animal's face (often used to "train" the pet not to bite). This technique is used in a lab environment to induce seizures for medical research.[51]

Tumors[edit]

Tumors, both benign and malignant, are fairly common in pet gerbils, and are most common in females over the age of two. Usually, the tumors involve the ovaries, causing an extended abdomen, or the skin, with tumors most often developing around the ears, feet, midabdomen, and base of the tail, appearing as a lump or abscess.[50] The scent gland (positioned on the abdomen) should be checked regularly; a veterinarian can operate on the lump where possible.[52]

Tail sloughing[edit]

Gerbils can lose their tails due to improper handling, being attacked by another animal, or getting their tails stuck. The first sign is a loss of fur from the tip of the tail, then, the skinless tail dies off and sloughs, with the stump usually healing without complications.[50]

Tyzzer's disease[edit]

The most common infectious disease in gerbils is Tyzzer's disease, a bacterial disease, which stress can make animals more susceptible to. It produces symptoms such as ruffled fur, lethargy, hunched posture, poor appetite, diarrhoea, and often death. It quickly spreads between gerbils in close contact.[50]

Deafness and inner ear problems[edit]

A problem with the inner ear can be spotted by a gerbil leaning to one side quite obviously. The fluids in the ears affect balance. However, this does not appear to affect the gerbils too much, which have an attitude of just getting on with things, and getting used to their conditions. Gerbils with "extreme white spotting" colouring are susceptible to deafness; this is thought to be due to the lack of pigmentation in and around the ear.[53]

Captive-bred gerbils[edit]

A male and female fat-tailed gerbil (Pachyuromys duprasi)

Many color varieties of gerbils are available in pet shops today, generally the result of years of selective breeding.

Over 20 different coat colors occur in the Mongolian gerbil, which has been captive-bred the longest.[54]

Another species of gerbil has also been recently introduced to the pet industry: the fat-tailed gerbil, or duprasi. They are smaller than the common Mongolian gerbils, and have long, soft coats and short, fat tails, appearing more like a hamster. The variation on the normal duprasi coat is more gray in color, which may be a mutation, or it may be the result of hybrids between the Egyptian and Algerian subspecies of duprasi.[55][56]

White spotting has been reported in not only the Mongolian gerbil, but also the pallid gerbil[57] and possibly Sundervall's Jird.[58]

A long-haired mutation, a grey agouti or chinchilla mutation, white spotting, and possibly a dilute mutation have also appeared in Shaw's jirds,[59] and white spotting and a dilute mutation have shown up in bushy-tailed jirds.[60]

Coat colours[edit]

References[edit]

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  42. ^See 14 Cal. Code Regs. § 671(c)(2)(J). The prohibition imposed by the California Fish and Game Commission also applies to all other members of order Rodentia, except for "domesticated races" of rats, mice, golden hamsters, guinea pigs, and chinchillas.
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External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongolian_gerbil

Gerbil stock photos and images (1,752)

gerbil isolated over whiteGerbil Stock Photographyby lostbear4/117Cute little gerbil isolated on whiteCute little gerbil Stock Photographyby photomaru2/55Illustration of a Cute Gerbil Smiling ContentedlyGerbil Stock Imageby lenm2/288isolated gerbilGerbil Stock Photographyby HHart4/451Fun mouseFun mouse Picturesby julos42/5,425baby guinea pigbaby guinea pig Picturesby sierpniowka5/72guinea pig over black - closeup with focus on eyeguinea pig over black Pictureby alptraum2/209Little white gerbil rat looking curious on a white backgroundCurious rat Stock Photoby Anke1/42Dwarf Roborovski (Phodopus Roborovskii) hamster isolated on white backgroundroborovski hamster Stock Photographsby emielcia5/182two fancy mice in lovecouple of mice Stock Photographyby emielcia21/2,836Close up of two cute guinea pigs on white backgroundtwo cute guinea pigs Stock Photosby feedough2/54baby guinea pigsbaby guinea pigs Pictureby sierpniowka6/62Fun mouseFun mouse Stock Photographyby julos5/491Fun mouseFun mouse Stock Imagesby julos17/1,867One of my two gerbilsGerbil watches you Stock Photographsby VolkerGb1/100A cartoon illustration of a hamster playing basketball.Cartoon Hamster Basketball Stock Photographyby cthoman1/40Fun mouseFun mouse Stock Photographyby julos2/135MouseMouse Stock Photographsby julos5/368two mice running in the wheeltwo mice running in the wheel Stock Photographyby Mik1221/129gerbilgerbil Stock Photosby devon4/468Fun mouseFun mouse Stock Photoby julos1/158little gerbil in front of white backgroundgerbil Stock Photographyby cynoclub1/9brown Gerbil sitting on his feetGerbil sitting on feet Pictureby Paganin1/146little pet friend, gerbilMy little friend Gerbil Stock Photosby Migclick1/25little gerbil in front of white backgroundgerbil Stock Photographyby cynoclub1/13Gerbil standing with a big cup isolated on whiteGerbil with a cup Stock Photosby photomaru1/6Cute Hamster Isolated On WhiteCute Hamster Isolated On White Stock Photosby Subbotina15/424cute guinea pig shot over whiteguinea pig over white Picturesby alptraum42/1,689Black gerbil, isolated on the white backgroundBlack gerbil on white Stock Photoby Farinosa1/20Cat playing with little gerbil mouse on the table.Cat playing with little gerbil mouse on thetable Picturesby zsv32071/55Girl feeds the gerbil mouse seeds, grain.Girl feeds the gerbil mouse seeds Stock Imageby zsv32071/2Mongolian gerbil ehave dinner on the table.Mongolian gerbil ehave dinner on the table Stock Photoby zsv32071/8A mother Mongolian Gerbil (aka Clawed Jird) (Meriones unguiculatus), feeds it hungry babies while feasting on an egg yolk.Mother gerbil eating egg yolk while feeding babies Stock Photographyby Eugene_Sim1/233Funny HamsterFunny Hamster Stock Photoby Subbotina12/317Cat playing with little gerbil mouse on the table. Natural light.Cat playing with little gerbil mouse on the table. Natural light Stock Photosby zsv32071/17little black mouse running on an exercise wheel on white backgroundlittle mouse on an exercise wheel Stock Imagesby emielcia10/875Two mice and a gerbil rat in a halloween sceneHalloween rodents Stock Imageby Anke3/210Cute little gerbil with with shopping bag isolated on white backgroundLittle mouse goes shopping Stock Photographsby photomaru2/52Nutria or coypu near a lake.Wildlife Photos - Nutria Stock Photographyby lucidwaters6/274Funny Hamsters CollectionFunny Hamsters Collection Picturesby Subbotina2/78Gerbil Skittering with Clipping PathGerbil Skittering Stock Photoby lenm0/262guinea pig - a highkey closeup with focus on the eye, shot over whiteguinea pig closeup over white Pictureby alptraum8/592Cartoon of isolated black gerbil staring aheadBlack Gerbil Stock Photosby theblackrhino1/66guinea pig closeup shot over whiteguinea pig over white Stock Photographsby alptraum55/4,008Hamster Over WhiteHamster Over White Stock Photoby Subbotina4/61Cute little gerbil with open gift box isolated on white backgroundCute little mouse Stock Photosby photomaru1/8Funny Hamsters CollectionFunny Hamsters Collection Pictureby Subbotina4/158little mouse looking at something next to its noselittle mouse Stock Photoby emielcia20/962mouse in a glass on a white backgroundglass of... mouse Stock Photographsby emielcia10/456Curious little gerbil looking straight into camera isolated on whiteCurious little mouse Stock Photographyby photomaru1/2close up on little mouse and cheesemouse and cheese Stock Photoby emielcia5/164Hamster over whiteHamster over white Stock Photographyby Subbotina5/135Cat stares to little gerbil mouse on the table with plate and serving cutlery. Concepts of prey, food, pest.Cat looking to little gerbil mouse on the table before attack. Concept of prey, food, pest. Stock Photoby zsv32071/33a small white mousesmall mouse Stock Photoby erllre744/367Cute hamster playing in its ballHamster in ball Stock Imagesby AlejandroRonay3/292Little white gerbil rat in a halloween sceneCreepy rat Stock Photosby Anke2/278young gerbil in front of white backgroundgerbil in studio Stock Photosby cynoclub0/0young gerbil in front of white backgroundgerbil in studio Stock Imageby cynoclub0/0Hamster in a wheel over white backgroundHamster in a wheel Stock Photoby Tempusfugit5/174Hamster isolated on white backgroundHamster Pictureby IgorKovalchuk3/31a closeup of a rodent food mixrodent food mix Stock Photographsby mrphoto2/416Funny Hamster over whiteFunny Hamster over white Stock Imageby Subbotina2/94young gerbil in front of white backgroundgerbil in studio Stock Photographsby cynoclub0/0close up shot of black humster isolated on whiteblack hamster Stock Photographyby vkraskouski2/207Hamster in a wheel over white backgroundHamster in a wheel Stock Imageby Tempusfugit2/64little fancy mouse eating grainslittle mouse Stock Imageby emielcia4/170young gerbil in front of white backgroundgerbil in studio Stock Photographyby cynoclub0/0Hamster isolated on white backgroundHamster Stock Photoby IgorKovalchuk6/69Hamster isolated on white backgroundHamster Pictureby IgorKovalchuk7/172one little teddy bear hamsterteddy bear hamster Picturesby devon3/277little mouse looking at something next to its noselittle mouse Stock Photographsby emielcia8/400Meriones unguiculatus, the Mongolian jird or Mongolian gerbil is a rodent belonging to subfamily GerbillinaeMeriones Unguiculatus, The Mongolian Jird Or Mongolian Gerbil Pictureby ryhor0/0Meriones unguiculatus, the Mongolian jird or Mongolian gerbil is a rodent belonging to subfamily GerbillinaeMeriones Unguiculatus, The Mongolian Jird Or Mongolian Gerbil Picturesby ryhor0/0Little white rat in a halloween sceneHalloween rat Pictureby Anke2/83young gerbil in front of white backgroundgerbil in studio Stock Imagesby cynoclub0/0
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5 Types of Gerbil Breeds: An Overview (With Pictures)

There are many different kinds of gerbils globally, 87 known species, and a current 14 genera of gerbil, to be exact. They are all classed in the mammal subfamily Gerbillinae, previously known as the desert rats. These small creatures are primarily native to Africa, Asia, and India.

Nowadays, almost any pet shop that you enter will have gerbils on sale, except in California, where they are illegal to purchase or keep as a pet. Out of all of the various gerbils spread across the world, you can only keep two of these types as pets in most areas.

Other kinds of gerbils, the last three on our list, for example, might make great pets but are only found in their native lands.

Read on to find out which type of gerbil may be right for you!

The 5 Types of Gerbil Breeds

1. Mongolian Gerbils

The Mongolian gerbil is the most common gerbil that you will find in the pet shops. They are very typical in their overall appearance, with large, black eyes and a medium coat with a long, thin tail.

Mongolian gerbils are native to the Steppe region of Mongolia. They were brought for research to the USA by Dr. Victor Schwentker in 1954. They were quickly introduced into the pet industry and became immensely popular as a small mammal. They weren’t brought to the UK and the rest of Europe until the 1960s.

Since Mongolian gerbils are such a common pet now, they have been selectively bred to have various coat colors. In the wild, they only ever have golden agouti colors.

These gerbils can come in:

  • Black
  • Burmese
  • Light red fox
  • Schimmel
  • Silver nutmeg
  • Ivory cream
  • Grey agouti
  • Pink-eyed white
  • Polar fox
  • Red-eyed and dark-eyed honey
  • Saffron
  • Lilac
  • Dove
  • Sapphire

Mongolian gerbils are often kept in medium to large-sized enclosures since they prefer to live in pairs or larger groups. They are exceptionally social animals but will typically like the company of gerbils from the same litter. An ideal group of Mongolian gerbils is the combination of two males and two females from the same litter. Be careful if you try to introduce them to another gerbil after reaching maturity since they are unlikely to accept a new pairing.

Towards humans, these gerbils are non-aggressive, quirky, and curious. They are also quite confident, making it easier to handle them soon after adoption and while managing them outside of their enclosure.

Mongolian gerbils typically reach a length between 4-6 inches long from the nose to the base of their tail. The tail is about ⅔ the length of their bodies. Their average lifespan is 3-5 years, although they can live longer if cared for properly.


2. Fat-tailed Gerbils

Fat-tailed gerbils are the only other gerbil common to find as a pet outside of their native lands. They are only just beginning to gain popularity in pet stores across North America and the European continent.

These gerbils are easy to tell apart from the Mongolian gerbils solely based on their tail width. They earned their name for good reason, growing a short tail that only reaches about 2 inches long but is club-shaped and very thick. Their tails are unique since this species of gerbil uses them to store fats and water inside. It functions as a good indicator of their health since a happy fat-tailed gerbil has a nice, rounded tail.

Fat-tailed gerbils have not become popular enough to be selectively bred at this point. They only come in one coat type. They have soft, thick, and fluffy fur in a mottled yellow-gray pattern across the top and fades into white underneath. They grow up to 4 inches in length from the nose to the base of their tail and can live 5-7 years.

The fat-tailed gerbil is native to the desert regions in northern Africa. They were discovered and documented for the first time in 1880 in Algeria by French zoologist Fernand Lataste.

Fat-tailed gerbils make a convenient pet to keep because although they are social, they are also quite happy to live alone. They are not aggressive and will rarely bite, adjusting quickly to being handled. They have earned a reputation as being one of the most docile species within the gerbil family.


3. Pallid Gerbils

Less is known about the pallid gerbil, great gerbil, and Shaw’s jird. They are not typically kept as pets except occasionally in their native countries. They are among some of the more commonly known gerbils and have found a place on our list.

Pallid gerbils, or Gerbillus perpallidus, hail from Egypt. They are very similar in size, shape, and coloring to the Mongolian gerbil but have shorter bodies and longer tails. They are covered in a thin layer of pale orange fur that fades into white across their midsection. They also have thinner coats than the Mongolian due to the hotter areas in which they live.

The pallid gerbil is easy to look after in a similar way to the Mongolian gerbil. The requirements to keep them fed, cleaned, and handled properly are all the same. On average, pallid gerbils will only live until they are about 5 years old if they receive proper treatment.


4. Great Gerbils

The great gerbil, or Rhombomys opimus, is one of the largest species in the gerbil subfamily, much as their name would suggest. They are not typically kept as pets anywhere in the world since they have a much more aggressive behavior than most others and have voracious appetites.

It doesn’t help that instead of the cute, mouse-like appearance typical to the Mongolian gerbil, the great gerbil is larger than most rats and looks more like a Midwestern prairie dog than anything fluffy and adorable for your kids

There is also a rumor among the science community that great gerbils were responsible for the Black Death and not rats, as many thought at the time.

The great gerbil is native to parts of Central Asia. Communities have particular problems with them in Western China since they can hoard astonishing amounts of grain in their never-ending, destructive burrows.


5. Shaw’s Jirds

Lastly, to contrast the well-known and little-loved great gerbil, there is the Shaw’s jird. The Shaw’s jird, or Meriones shawi, is another larger gerbil breed but one that has managed to maintain the appearance of a cute, small pet. Instead of a tail covered in skin, they often have very long tails covered in short, fine hairs that give them a nicer appearance than some other hairless gerbils.

Shaw’s jird is common among the North African countries but is one of the least common pet gerbils you find in pet stores. They are not as friendly as the first three gerbils on the list, with females being aggressive with each other and very territorial. It is best to keep two male Shaw’s jirds together or a male and a female.

The Shaw’s jird can have black or tan fur on top that fades into white underneath. They are typically very docile around humans and take handling quite well. They very rarely bite. In fact, these gerbils often become tamer than any other gerbil species once they become accustomed to their human counterparts.


Featured image credit: auenleben, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

Sours: https://petkeen.com/gerbil-breeds/
Sours: https://www.123rf.com/stock-photo/gerbil.html

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How to draw a Gerbil Step by Step - Gerbil Drawing Lesson

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