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Gerbils - History

Gerbil: Meriones unguliculatus which means “clawed warrior”.

A gerbil is a member of rodent family. In the wild, the Mongolian gerbil lives in the desert where there is very little low rainfall or vegetation, with temperatures that fluctuate enormously day and night and between summer and winter. Burrowing allows them to protect themselves from these extremes in temperature as underground the temperatures remain constant. In the wild Gerbil burrows are a complex array of tunnels, with nests and food storage chambers which allow the gerbil to stay underground for long periods of time.

The species has evolved to need only limited water as they do not sweat. In addition they re-absorb their liquid intake producing highly concentrated urine and dry faeces.

The male is called a boar and the female is a sow, the young are pups, with 3 to 10 pups per litter. They are creatures between a rat and a mouse in size usually weighing between 50-80 grammes. They live between 3 to 5 years. They come in dozens of different colours, from regular sandy light brown, to black, with varieties like siamese, to even blue! They have a slightly different shaped face to other rodents. Their long tail is covered in fur with a tuft at the end. They have either deep black or ruby red eyes. Gerbils make fun and entertaining pets for both young and old. Their homes take up little space, they are low-maintenance and they create little odour.

Gerbils are great to watch. Their antics can entertain you for hours. They are also incredibly friendly. Requiring a minimum of care. They are very friendly, sociable and rarely bite. In the wild their long hind legs allow them to cover large distances in a harsh habitat in order to collect food.


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