Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ABC Wednesday: J is for Jerboas

Jerboas are rodents, also sometimes called dipodids, after the name of the family they belong to, the Dipodidae. The two here are Greater Egyptian Jerboas (Jaculus orientalis).
This is a Lesser Egyptian Jerboa (Jaculus jaculus), they are only half the size of the Greater Egyptian Jerboa. Both species run or hop on their hind legs and balance with their tails. They can jump 3 yards from a standing start and run very fast.
The Jaculus species live in shrublands and deserts, feeding on small seeds in Northern Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
Some people keep jerboas as pets, the ones shown here are pets rescued from unsuitable conditions or given up by people who just didn't know what they got themselves into. Jerboas need a lot of room to be active and keeping them in a cage or tank just isn't enough. Sometimes, jeboas will even jump in panic and break their neck on the glass wall of a tank.
I took the pictures at a friends' house, she lets her jerboas roam free, which is about the only thing to do with jerboas to keep them happy. During the day they sleep in a hiding place and will come out at night. They will beg for treats and pester anyone in the room for attention. hey are very intelligent - they actually worked out how a door handle works just from watching and tried to open the door by themselves, jumping up and trying to grip the handle. They are just too light to open the door, though.
Jerboas are among the most absurd animals I know, with the long, spindly legs, the piggy nose and the T-Rex arms. Unfortunately, I don't have any films of them because in movement they look really surreal.

See what else J stands for at ABC Wednesday


Sylvia K said...

Cute, creepy looking little guys! Great post for the J Day! You always have such interesting and informative posts and particularly about the animals! Delightful! Have a great week!


Mar said...

Yes, cute and creepy at the same time! interesting take on the theme!
My ABC Wednesday

Leslie: said...

They really are weird looking with those skinny back legs. I've never heard of them before but then I guess I learned something new today. Great photos! Have a great week! :D

photowannabe said...

That is the strangest creature I have ever seen. I agree with Sylvia. They seem a bit creepy to me too. They look like a mistake.

RuneE said...

Today you have taught me about Jerboas and Jirds - which of course I have never heard of. I'm all for continuous education! :-)

Thank you!

EG Wow said...

I don't know if I'd want them roaming around my house but they sure are cute with those big eyes!

Joy said...

Weird, but fascinating. I can just imagine them trying to pull down the handle, very funny, they must be like hamsters, who can find their way out of any place.

Tumblewords: said...

I'm joyous that jerboas are not jumping around here. I'm not so fond of rodents of any type, but enjoyed reading about these!

Roger Owen Green said...

cute in an ugly sort of way.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

ChrisJ said...

These look beautiful. I'd love to see them in action. I wonder if they are affectionate.

Wanda said...

They look like they will grow up to be monsters that could eat you.

You do bring the world of animals to us in the most interesting ways.


Snow Leopard said...

I wonder how I missed your blog for such a long time. I mean I am an animal lover to the core and your blog is like a wonderland for me.
Excellent photographs and information. Will be reading your earlier posts too.


Mara said...

Well, they certainly look weird! Great J (and the most unique one probably as well)

jabblog said...

Fascinating little beasties. I've never kept them and having read your post I'm glad. I don't think they'd have lasted long in a busy household full of feet, dogs and cats!

Wendy said...

They're so ugly, they're cute, lol...The Jerboas remind me of the Sphinx Cats, the ones without hair. Beautiful in their own way :)

mrsnesbitt said...

awwwwwwwwwwwww! Cute

Anna said...

What amazing little furry animals. I learn so much from your blog. I never knew that Jerboas existed.
Thanks for sharing.
Best wishes,
Anna's J-word (abc-Wed rd-7)

Singapore plants lover said...

It is so cute, first time I see it, I can't image if it is at my place...