Revised-Article now added
Bushy Tail Jirds
This species is approximately the same size as a Mongolian Gerbil although longer and thinner in build, with a more pear shaped rump. Their faces are long and pointed and they display very prominent whiskers. Their most striking feature is their tail, however, in a non-dominant animal although it is quite thick along most of it's length and is covered with hairs, it is only in a dominant male that this bushy tail is truly seen in all its glory...
Indian Desert Jirds
This species has been recorded in the Thar desert of India, Iran and Pakistan. Within India it is seen in Gujarat, Haryana, and Rajasthan, while in Pakistan it is known from Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and North West Frontier Province...
Meriones tristrami has a global range that extends from Anatolia and the Caucasus south to Jordan, Syria, Israel, northwest Iran and Iraq. Although it has been recorded on the Greek Island of Kos, it has not been recorded there over the last ten years despite repeated surveys...
First described by Lichtenstein in 1823, and regarded as the largest of all the gerbil species. With a head and body length between 15-20cm (6-8in) and a tail of similar length. Their incisors are also quite distinct; having two easily distinguished grooves in the teeth. The animal claws are designed for heavy duty burrowing...
This species which was first described by H. Lichtenstein in 1823, has an extremely wide global range and can be found in North Africa (W,Sahara and Mauritania to Egypt and also in Asia (From the Arabian peninsula east to China). It can be found habiting regions above 1,700m...
Gerbils and Jirds, what's the difference?
When I very first started keeping gerbils and Jirds as a hobby, I was told to remember a very basic rule for classifying gerbils, this being that all Jirds are gerbils, but not all gerbils are Jirds...
Care and management of Shaw's Jirds - (Meriones shawi)
The Jird burrow system can be extensive and have several entrances, which remain unclosed by day. The actual entrances to their burrows can often be located beneath nearby shrubs. The burrow usually consists of food storage chambers nearer to the surface and nesting chambers can be found at greater depths within the burrow. Nesting material is usually made from local dried vegetation...
Which Gerbillus species do you keep, Pallids, Cheesmans or are they hybrids?
Over recent years there has been some confusion surrounding the identities of Pallid Gerbils and Cheesman Gerbils, to the extent that some breeders not being sure which species they do have, have inadvertantly hybridised these two similar species together, effectively producing a Pallid/Cheesman hybrid, that in breeding experiments seem fully fertile. These hybrids have then been distributed and bred on as either true pallids or cheesmans depending on which species they superficially looked like.This has been quite damaging to both captive species, and I fear that if the trend is not reversed and hybrids being accurately recognised for what they are, true Pallids and Cheesmans Gerbils will become impossible to find within the U.K...
The Pallid Gerbil (Gerbillus perpallidus)
Pallid gerbils are a species of gerbil from North Africa, they are slightly smaller than the Mongolian gerbil (the well known pet shop gerbil), with a slender appearance, slightly protruding eyes, and have a friendly disposition and are easy to care for. They have a light orange upper coat and white belly, white around the eyes, long feet and a tail longer than the body. The tail is barely furred and the ears are naked. The eyes are dark and stand out from the head, much larger in proportion to the head than Mongolians...
The Rock Gerbil (Gerbillus campestris)
Loche first described Gerbillus campestris in 1867 from specimens collected in the Constantine Province, Philip Ville, Algeria. This particular gerbil species is now thought to be extinct in the U.K. Originating from the Berlin zoo, they were imported around 1999, and although they initially bred well, less than a handful of people kept them, and sadly their fertility declined over the years mainly through forced inbreeding, and new blood never emerged to keep the breeding lines healthy and vigorous...
Charming Dipodils (Gerbillus amoenus)
DeWinton first described the Charming Dipodil in 1902 from Egyptian specimens in the Giza province. There have been suggestions that the Dipodil is in fact the same species as gerbillus Nanus, although smaller, it's appearance and behaviour is similar...
Charming Dipodil Diaries
I first obtained Charming Dipodils (Gerbillus amoenus) in May 2004 when I travelled to Cardiff to collect some animals. I got my 2 females from my friend Eddie Cope, who first imported the species into the United Kingdom in 2001. I named them Charmer and Dreamer and they soon settled down into Irish life...
Fat Sand Rats in Captivity (Psammomys Obesus)
P.Obesus got its common name of Fat Sand Rat from when diabetes was first discovered by chance observation in the specimens collected by the US Naval Medical Research Unit in Egypt. It appeared whenever the animals were maintained on a regular rodent diet. These first animals were trapped on the sandy beaches of the Nile Delta and trivially nicknamed 'Sand Rats', which is a misnomer as they are a highly specialised members of the gerbil family. Both the common and Latin name (Psammomsys Obesus) suggest that it is bulky in stature and this is certainly true of the adult males, females however remain leaner, considerably faster and more agile.
The Fat-Tail Gerbil (Pachyuromys duprasi)
Duprasi are relative newcomers to the gerbil fancy, and have received many differing and often confusing reports on their behaviour and care. Some articles and internet sites describe them as nippy, whereas others describe them as docile and affectionate, and some reports describe them as being difficult to breed yet others say they are no more difficult to breed than a regular Mongolian gerbil. They are viewed by some as some sort of missing link between gerbils and hamsters.
Species photo galleries
Shaw's Jird (Meriones shawi)
U.K. Shaw's jird
- U.K. Brown Agouti ~ Click here to visit the gallery
- U.K. Golden Agouti ~ Click here to visit the gallery
- U.K. Yellow Agouti ~ Click here to visit the gallery
- U.K. Spotted Shaw's Jird ~ Click here to visit the gallery
Egyptian Shaw's jird
- Isis A Type Breeding Lines ~ Click here to visit the gallery
- Isis B Type Breeding Lines ~ Click here to visit the gallery
- Isis C Type Breeding Lines ~ Click here to visit the gallery
- Grey Shaw's Jird (Subspecies-shawi isis) ~ Click here to visit the gallery
- Angora mutation (Subspecies-shawi isis) ~ Click here to visit the gallery
UK X Egyptian Shaw's hybrids
- F1 Hybrids ~ Click here to view the gallery
- F1 Hybrid Backcross ~ Click here to view the gallery
- F1 Golden Hybrid ~ Click here to view the gallery
- Dilute Shaw's Jirds ~ Click here to view the gallery
Libyan Jird (Meriones libycus)
Sundevall Jird (Meriones crassus)
Sundevall Jirds in the wild
- A personal account of the Sundevall jird in the Wild, accompanied by a photo gallery, kindly sent to us by Igor Armiach
Persian jird (Meriones persicus)
Tristram's Jird (Meriones tristrami)
Indian Desert Jird (Meriones hurrianae)
Cheesman x Pallid hybrids
Pallid Gerbil (Gerbillus perpallidus)
Rock Gerbil (Gerbillus campestris)
Charming dipodil (Gerbillus amoenus)
Charming dipodil diaries
Igor Armiach also sent us some lovely pictures of unidentified Gerbillus species.
Bushy Tail Jird (Sekeetamys calurus)
Fat Sand Rat (Psammomys obesus)
Fat-tail gerbil (Pachyuromys duprasi)