Pale gerbil (Gerbillus perpallidus)

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Pale gerbil standing on hind legs
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Pale gerbil fact file

Pale gerbil description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderRodentia
FamilyMuridae
GenusGerbillus (1)

The name ‘gerbil’ derives from an Arabic word that alludes to the well-muscled hind legs that are characteristic of this group (3). The pale gerbil has pale orange fur, with white underparts, white forelimbs and white feet. The ears are unpigmented and the soles of the feet are haired, which is characteristic of sand-dwelling gerbils (2).

Size
Length: 22 - 27 cm (2)
Weight
26 - 49 g (2)
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Pale gerbil biology

Like most species of gerbil, the pale gerbil is nocturnal, a behaviour that enables it to not only avoid the heat of the day, but also to feed at night when its preferred foods may be covered in dew, thus increasing its water intake (2) (5). Maximising water intake is vitally important for species living in arid habitats, as is minimising water loss, which the pale gerbil does by producing extremely concentrated urine and dry faeces (2). Like most other species of gerbilit is likely that the diet of the pale gerbil consists of grasses, shoots and seeds (2).

Breeding in this species has been recorded taking place around April and May (5). Gestation usually lasts around 20 days, with an average litter size of five pups (6) (7). In captivity this species has been recorded to live as long as five and a half years (7).

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Pale gerbil range

The pale gerbil is endemic to Egypt (2). Its range extends along the north coast (2), from the edge of the Qatara Depression (a desert basin in north-western Egypt) eastwards to the Nile river (1) (4). Although this species has a fairly restricted distribution, it is thought to be common within its range (1).

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Pale gerbil habitat

This gerbil typically lives in sandy areas, from coastal dunes to sandy margins (1) (2), where it creates burrows in the sand (2).

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Pale gerbil status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Pale gerbil threats

Despite having a relatively restricted range, the pale gerbil is thought to have a large population, and is not currently believed to be facing any major threats (1).

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Pale gerbil conservation

There are no specific conservation measures known to be in place for the pale gerbil, and it is unknown whether it occurs in any protected areas (1).

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Authentication

Checked (24/08/10) by Dr Francis Gilbert, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham.
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~plzfg/

This species information was authored as part of the ARKive and Universities Scheme.
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Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Gestation
The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.
Nocturnal
Active at night.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2010)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Hoath, R. (2009) A Field Guide to the Mammals of Egypt. The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo.
  3. Kingdon, J. (1974) East African Mammals: An Atlas of Evolution in Africa. Volume 2: Hares and Rodents. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  4. Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. (2005) Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Third Edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore, Maryland.
  5. Mares, M.A. (1999) Encyclopedia of Deserts. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
  6. Gerbil Information Page (April, 2010)
    http://www.gerbil.info/html/otherpallid.htm
  7. AnAge (April, 2010)
    http://genomics.senescence.info/species/entry.php?species=Gerbillus_perpallidus
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Image credit

Pale gerbil standing on hind legs  
Pale gerbil standing on hind legs

© Michael Leach & Meriel Lland / www.photoshot.com

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