Jerboa

I like playing in sand!

Big Ears Mouse is CUTE

The jerboa forms the bulk of the membership of the family Dipodidae. Jerboas are hopping desert rodents found throughout Northern Africa and Asia east to northern China and Manchuria. They tend to live in hot deserts. Most jerboas eat plants. Some species eat beetles and other insects they come across, but they can not eat hard seeds. Unlike gerbils, jerboas are not known to store food. Jerboas look somewhat like kangaroos as they have many similarities such as long hind legs, very short forelegs and long tails. Jerboas move around their environment the same way a kangaroo does, which is by hopping.

Like other bipedal animals, their foramen magnum—the hole at the base of the skull—is forward-shifted, which enhances two legged locomotion. When chased, jerboas can run at up to 24 kilometres per hour. Some species are preyed on by little owls (Athene noctua) in central Asia. Most species of jerboa have excellent hearing that they use to avoid becoming the prey of nocturnal predators. The typical lifespan of a jerboa is around six years. Many species within the family Dipodidae participate in dust bathing. Dust bathing is often a way to use chemical communication.

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Jerboas are nocturnal. During the heat of the day they shelter in burrows. At night they leave the burrows due to the cooler temperature of their environment. They dig the entrances to their burrow near plant life, especially along field borders. During the rainy season they make tunnels in mounds or hills to reduce the risk of flooding. In the summer, jerboas occupying holes plug the entrance to keep out hot air and, some researchers speculate, predators. In most cases burrows have an emergency exit that ends just below the surface or opens at the surface but is not strongly obstructed. This allows the jerboa to quickly escape predators.