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Gerbil

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Gerbil
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Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Rodentia
Superfamily:Muroidea
Family:Muridae
Subfamily:Gerbillinae

A gerbil is a small mammal of the order Rodentia.

Once known simply as "desert rats," the gerbil subfamily includes about 110 species of African, Indian, and Asian rodents, including sand rats and jirds, all of which are adapted to arid habitats. Therefore, most are primarily nocturnal, and almost all are omnivorous.

One Mongolian species, Meriones unguiculatus, also known as the Clawed Jird, is a gentle and hardy animal that has become a popular pet. It was first brought to the United States in 1954 by Dr. Victor Schwentker for use in research.

Gerbils are typically between six and twelve inches (150 to 300 mm) long, and their tail makes up approximately one half of their total length. One species, however, the Great Gerbil, or Rhombomys opimus, originally native to Turkmenistan, can grow to more than 16 inches (400 mm) in length. As of August 19, 2003, officials in western China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region began releasing eagles to combat the damage they say the great gerbils have done to eleven million acres (46,000 km²) of grassland.[1] (http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/asiapcf/east/08/19/china.gerbils.reut/)

Subfamily Gerbillinae

The subfamily Gerbillinae is in the family Muridae along with the mice, rats, and their relatives. This family belongs to the superfamily Muroidea, which also includes hamsters and voles. Subfamily Gerbilinae consists of the following 14 genera, 9 subgenera and 110 species:

References

  • McKenna, M. C. and S. K. Bell. 1997. Classification of Mammals above the Species Level. Columbia University Press, New York.
  • Musser, G. G. and M. D. Carleton. 1993. Family Muridae. Pp. 501-755 in Mammal Species of the World a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder eds. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C.
  • Nowak, R. M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Vol. 2. Johns Hopkins University Press, London.
  • Pavlinov, I. Ya., Yu. A. Dubrovskiy, O. L. Rossolimo, E. G. Potapova. 1990. Gerbils of the world. Nauka, Moscow.

External links


Gerbil (chess) also refers to a chess engine.de:Rennmäuse es:Jerbo fr:Gerbille he:גרביל nl:Gerbils

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