While the vast majority of rodents in North Africa are herbivorous, the fat-tailed gerbil is one of few rodent species that actively prey on insects. It takes a wide range of prey, including beetles, crickets and moths, and some anecdotal evidence even suggests that snails are frequently consumed. The fat-tailed gerbil supplements this diet of insects with plant material, including seeds, roots, leaves and fruit (2) (6).
The fat-tailed gerbil reaches sexual maturity at two months old, at which point females are capable of producing up to three litters per year of three to six young, which are weaned after about four weeks (7). Courtship rituals often consist of wrestling between the male and female, while a series of high-pitched “squeaks” are emitted (5).
The fat-tailed gerbil either lives solitarily, or in small colonies or family groups in areas of abundant resources. In captivity, its lifespan can be up to eight years, although this is likely to be much lower in the wild (7).