Tuesday 21 May
Bushy-tailed jird (Sekeetamys calurus)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Bushy-tailed jird fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Bushy-tailed jird description
The timid bushy-tailed jird is a small, gerbil-like mammal with a slender body, large eyes and, as the common name suggests, a thick and fluffy covering of fine hairs on the tail. The bushy tail is the most striking feature, having greyish or black fur along most of its length, except for the white tip (2) (4). The body of the bushy-tailed jird is brownish-yellow and speckled with black on the upperparts, paler on the flanks, and white on the underside (4). With its slender limbs and long hind feet (4), the bushy-tailed jird is a proficient, agile climber in its rocky habitat (2).Top
Bushy-tailed jird biology
The bushy-tailed jird is well adapted to survive and reproduce in its harsh, desert environment where food and water availability are quite unpredictable. Its diet mainly consists of spiders and insects, such as beetles and crickets, but it will also eat seeds and vegetation (7). It is able to extract water from plant material, which enables it to survive periods of drought (3). It also conserves this precious water by producing dry faeces and small amounts of concentrated urine (8). Water loss is further minimized by being nocturnal, therefore avoiding the heat of the day (3). When there is an abundance of food after the wet season, the bushy-tailed jird stores most of the food it eats as fat, in preparation for entering hibernation (8).
Although there are no records of this species’ reproductive biology in the wild (9), in captivity, female bushy-tailed jirds have been known to give birth throughout the year, to litters containing a maximum of six young. A captive individual lived five years and five months (2).Top
Bushy-tailed jird range
The bushy-tailed jird is distributed on the highlands surrounding the Red Sea, in north-eastern Sudan, eastern Egypt, including the southern coast of the Sinai Peninsula, southern Israel, southern Jordan, and western Saudi Arabia (1) (5).Top
Bushy-tailed jird habitat
The bushy-tailed jird inhabits rocky, hot, arid deserts where it rests during the day in a burrow under large rocks or a den amongst boulders (1) (4). It is able to tolerate extreme temperatures, such as in Sinai, where mountain-dwelling populations can experience snow during the winter and soaring temperatures during the summer (3) (6).Top
Bushy-tailed jird status
Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Bushy-tailed jird threats
Although a naturally rare species, there are not known to be any major threats to the bushy-tailed jird at present (1).Top
Bushy-tailed jird conservation
There are no known specific conservation measures currently in place for the bushy-tailed jird (1). It has been recommended that further research into this species’ distribution, ecology and reproduction should be undertaken (1), which would help inform any conservation measures that may be needed in the future.Top
Checked (24/08/10) by Dr Francis Gilbert, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham.
- A winter survival strategy characteristic of some mammals in which an animal’s metabolic rate slows down and a state of deep sleep is attained. Whilst hibernating, animals survive on stored reserves of fat that they have accumulated in summer.
- Active at night.
IUCN Red List (March, 2010)
- Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker’s Mammals of the World. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
- Haim, A. (1996) Food and energy intake, non-shivering thermogenesis and daily rhythm of body temperature in the bushy-tailed gerbil Sekeetamys calurus: the role of photoperiod manipulations. Journal of Thermoregulatory Biology, 21: 37-42.
- Hoath, R. (2009) A Field Guide to the Mammals of Egypt. The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo.
- Harrison, D.L. and Bates, P.J.J. (1991) The Mammals of Arabia. Harrison Zoological Museum Publication, Kent.
- Haim, A. and Izhaki, I. (1995) Comparative physiology of thermoregulation in rodents: adaptations to arid and mesic environments. Journal of Arid Environments, 31: 431-440.
- Mares, M.A. (1999) Encyclopedia of Deserts. Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman.
- Palgi, N. and Haim, A. (2003) Thermoregulatory and osmoregulatory responses to dehydration in the bushy-tailed gerbil Sekeetamys calurus. Journal of Arid Environments, 55: 727-736.
- Qumsiyeh, M.B. (1996) Mammals of the Holy Land. Texas Tech University Press, Texas.
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.