The Mongolian Gerbil


In 1954, Dr. Victor Schwentker brought nine Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus) to the USA for his scientific work; most pet gerbils are descendants of these animals!


The Mongolian gerbil is a mammal that belongs to the order of the Rodentia (rodents) and to the family of Cricetidae. His Latin name is Meriones unguiculatus, this means clawed warrior. He is most related to the hamsters.
In Asia and Africa, many species of gerbils are found, especially in arid, barren and sandy steppe areas. In Northern-Africa, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Sri Lanka, India, North-China and Mongolia. The Mongolian Gerbil, of all gerbil species, is the most known and especially suitable as a pet.


The Mongolian steppe, where the Mongolian gerbil lives, is a biotope with harsh, extreme circumstances.
Due to the fact that not many animals can live under such circumstances, the gerbil has not many natural enemies. To escape from enemies, such as birds of prey, the gerbil is able to jump very well. These jumping capabilities, which come also handy in escaping attacking gerbil rivals, are a result of the gerbils very strong hind legs.

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