A sociable animal, often found in small groups, the greater Egyptian jerboa is herbivorous, foraging for food throughout the night. Its diet consists of roots, shoots, leaves, and seeds of a variety of both wild and cultivated plants (1). It avoids the exhausting heat of the summer by spending the daytime in cool underground burrows (3), and survives the cold and resource-scarce winter months by hibernating (7).
Jerboas construct at least four different types of burrow of varying depths. These range from ten centimetre deep burrows, used to shelter from predators during the night, to burrows that measure over 220 centimetres deep for hibernation during winter (2).
Mating occurs shortly after emergence from hibernation (2). Compared to other rodents, jerboas have a long gestation period (six weeks) and weaning period, and do not become bipedal until around seven weeks after birth. Until this stage, the young jerboa moves slowly, using only the short forelegs to drag the trunk and hind-legs forward (8).