Sundevall Jirds

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Sundevall Jirds in the Wild

The arid parts of the Arava desert house many animals: Gazelles, Ibexes, Oryx's, Wild asses, Wolves, Hyenas, Ostriches, Foxes, Ravens and much more, down to tiny Scorpions and sand flies.

I have seen many of these animals during my service in the Israeli army. It is odd, then, that my closest bond was formed with the Wolves and the Gerbils

It was a guarding night in a remote, and somewhat secret, base, in the bullseye of nowhere. I was sitting outside, alone, in front of the malfunctioning TV, waiting to replace another soldier. Then the Gerbils came.

They used to search for crumbs near the barracks and lived underneath them. I started feeding them. An old gerbil, one with a scar and half a tail did not fear me. First I hand fed him, while sitting on a chair, but he tried to bite me. Then I changed strategy and lay on the floor, so he sniffed my camera. Here he is. The fearless wild gerbil, who never learned the fear of men. Next time they sent me there, the gerbils under the house were exterminated.

Elsewhere in the base, Gerbil life went on as usual.

Igor Armiach

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