Pleasant gerbil (Gerbillus amoenus)

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Pleasant gerbil fact file

Pleasant gerbil description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderRodentia
FamilyMuridae
GenusGerbillus (1)

The pleasant gerbil, also known as the charming dipodil, has short, brown fur on the upperparts of the body, blending into yellow on the sides (2), and a characteristic large, white patch on the rump (2). The facial markings are also distinctive, with a stripe of darker fur running from below each eye to the ears, and white patches above the eyes and behind the ears (2). The underside of the body is white (2), while the long tail is dark on top and white below, extending into a tuft for the last third of its length (2) (3). The soles of the hind feet lack hair and are typically elongated to a quarter the length of the body (3).

Also known as
charming dipodil.
Size
Length: 16 - 22 cm (2)
Tail length: 9 - 12 cm (2)
Weight
10.7 - 17.5 g (2)
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Pleasant gerbil biology

The pleasant gerbil is a nocturnal species that spends the day in a shallow burrow dug into sand or soil (2) (4) (5). Leaving its burrow at dusk, the pleasant gerbil begins foraging. Although its diet is not known, it is likely to be similar to that of closely related gerbils (2), which feed on invertebrates (particularly insects), roots, grasses, nuts and seeds (3).

Females of Gerbillus species are polyestrous (3), meaning they can give birth more than twice throughout any given year. A litter of four or five young are typically born following a gestation period of about 20 days (3), although litters can vary in size from one to eight offspring (3). At birth, pleasant gerbils have no fur and only open their eyes after 20 days (3). Females wean their young after approximately one month (3).

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Pleasant gerbil range

The distribution of the pleasant gerbil is split into two separate areas, lying within Egypt and Libya, separated by a region of unsuitable habitat (1).

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Pleasant gerbil habitat

The pleasant gerbil primarily inhabits rocky and sandy areas of desert (2) (3), but it has also been reported in a wide range of other habitats including wastelands, oases, salt marshes, canal banks, cultivated areas and human habitations (2).

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Pleasant gerbil status

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

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Pleasant gerbil threats

There are currently no known major threats to the pleasant gerbil (1).

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Pleasant gerbil conservation

There are no specific conservation measures currently in place for this species (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

Gestation
The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth.
Invertebrates
Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, and spiders.
Nocturnal
Active at night.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2010)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Hoath, R. (2003) A Field Guide to the Mammals of Egypt. The American University in Cairo Press, New York.
  3. Nowak, R.M. (1999) Walker’s Mammals of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
  4. Qumsiyeh, M. (1996) Mammals of the Holy Land. Texas Tech University Press, Texas.
  5. Mares, M. (1999) Encyclopedia of Deserts. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
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