Gerbil Facts

Gerbil Facts
Gerbil is a mammal that belongs to the group of burrowing rodents. There are over 100 species of gerbils that differ in size, color and type of habitat. Gerbils are native to India, Asia and Africa. They are adapted to the life in arid and desert areas. Gerbils also inhabit woodland savannas and mountain slopes. Most species of gerbils are numerous in the wild. Several species are endangered due to habitat loss as a result of increased human activity.
Interesting Gerbil Facts:
Gerbils are small animals. They can reach length of 6 to 12 inches (including the tail) and weigh 2 ½ ounces.
Whole body, including the tail, is covered with fur. Color of the fur depends on the species. It can be white, black, creamy or spotted. Females often choose to mate with males that have the same color of the fur like they have.
Gerbils have long hind legs adapted for jumping. Besides for movement, gerbils use their hind legs to thump the ground when they are stressed, excited, frightened or when they want to inform members of the group about upcoming danger.
Gerbils' teeth grow their entire life. Because of that, gerbils spend a lot of time in chewing hard objects. That habit keeps the teeth well trimmed.
Gerbils are omnivores, but they prefer vegetarian food. They mainly eat seeds, fruits, nuts and occasionally insects.
Gerbils rarely drink water since they live in dry and arid habitats with scarce sources of water. They extract moisture from the food they eat. Gerbils have specific kidneys designed to retain as much bodily fluids as possible. Because of that, gerbils urinate rarely.
Gerbils are nocturnal animals (active during the night).
Gerbil is very social animal that lives in a family group, called "business". Group is composed of one mating couple and few generations of their offspring.
Gerbils are friendly and curious by nature. They will attack only when provoked. Aggressive behavior is often a result of frustration and it is observed in individuals that are living outside the group (gerbils require company).
Gerbils dig underground burrows where they live, store food and raise their young. Burrows can be 5.6 feet deep and 20 to 26 feet wide.
Gerbils are territorial animals that use scent gland (located on tummy) to mark the territory.
Gerbils have sensitive sense of hearing and they produce squeals to communicate with each other.
Gerbil can mate throughout the whole year. Pregnancy in females lasts 21 to 26 days and ends with 3 to 7 babies. They are hairless, blind and deaf at birth.
Both parents take care of their offspring. Parents teach young gerbils how to find food and what type of food to eat.
Gerbils can survive 2 to 3 years in the wild.

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