As an inhabitant of a harsh, arid environment, it is essential that Mackillingin’s gerbil minimises water loss from its body. It achieves this in a number of ways, including by not sweating (3), and by being nocturnal. It spends the hot day in an underground burrow, where the temperature is lower (3), and the burrow opening can be plugged with sand once inside (2). Individuals tend to be solitary (3) but build burrows close to one another to give the impression of a large colony (2). Emerging at night when it is cooler, Mackillingin’s gerbil commences foraging for food (3), which includes seeds, roots, nuts, grasses and insects (2).
While Mackillingin’s gerbil may give birth at any time of year, it tends to prefer reproducing in the cooler months (3). Litter size ranges from one to eight young, but is most often four or five (2). Mackillingin’s gerbil reaches sexual maturity at between two and six months (3).