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Common Name:
Jird - Bushy Tailed
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Common Name:  Jird - Bushy Tailed

Other Common Names:  none listed

Scientific Name:  Sekeetamys calurus  (Full Taxonomy)

Group:  

Origin or Range:  Near East Asia

Relative Size:  Average  
    (as compared to other rodents)

Average Lifespan:  4 year(s)

Compatibility:  Relatively Non-Aggressive   
    (as compared to other rodents)

Category:  Mammals » Rodents
Animal Description:  

The Bushy-tailed Jird may be the friendliest member of the entire Gerbil family.

The Bushy-tailed Jird is known to be a nocturnal creature, although, when held in captivity, it is not uncommon to see them during the day. This animal is extremely curious, intelligent and friendly. It is not hard to introduce a Bushy-tailed Jird to another of its kind, which is a characteristic that is not commonly found in the gerbil species. These Jirds are best kept in an aquarium or cage specially constructed for a rodent. As with any small rodent, the Bushy-tailed Jird loves to climb and jump, so the cage should provide an ample amount of climbing elements, such as small branches, stones, etc. They also enjoy eating lots of sunflower seeds, millet and mealworms, but their diet must be as complete as any other gerbil's. Normal gerbil/hamster food or lab blocks should be a good supplement for this. Once familiar with it, they have no problem eating from their owner's hand. Because this animal is so active, it is important for fresh water to be available at all times. When resting, this rodent, like the majority of rodents, likes to nest. Bedding made of wood chips or corncob is usually desired along with tissues or hay to provide the creature with material from which to make a nest. They also like to "hide" while sleeping and will make their bed in any other small item that they can squeeze into.

The body-length of the Bushy-tailed Jird can range from 9.8-12.8 centimeters, adding another 13.1-16.4 centimeters when the tail is included. The weight of this creature varies with 80-95 grams being the average in captivity, while an estimated 45 grams is the norm in the wild. The Bushy-tailed Jird has multicolored fur, each hair beginning with a more bluish-gray color toward the skin, followed by a yellow, chamois leather colored band and ending in a black tip. Their stomachs tend to be a natural white with a definite line of separation between top and bottom colors. The ears of this rodent are an average gray with a few white hairs on the back, and the tail, covered in long, feathering fur which causes it to appear bushy, is a brownish-gray and often ends in a white tip. This creature will also carry its tail on its back as if it were permanently fixed in that position. The Bushy-tailed Jird has a long, slender head that is adorned with long, black and white whiskers, round eyes and fairly large ears. Its body widens toward the tail. Attached to a set of broad hips are legs that are also long and slender and end in a set of large hind feet that possess bare soles. The nails of this creature are a light yellow to whitish color can become quite long and are extremely sharp. The average lifespan of the Bushy-tailed Jird is four to five years.

The Bushy-tailed Jird originated in Egypt and Arabia, near the shores of the Red Sea. Though they share the name of "Jird," Bushy-tails are quite different in appearance to Jirds coming from the genus Meriones. In fact, Bushy-tailed Jirds have a genus all their own called Sekeetamys. Wild Bushy-tailed Jirds are usually found in an arid and rocky environment that provides solidly compacted soil in which they can dwell. They are known to burrow under anything that can provide a shaded canopy over their homes, such as boulders and the like. Because of this environment, they are extremely good climbers.

Specific Care Information: Relative Care Ease: Relatively Easy

It is important that the Bushy-tailed Jird have a sand bath provided for them at least once a day if not at all times. Specially made fine sand can be found at almost any pet store and should be placed in a glass bowl/jar, or any dish that cannot be eaten by this creature. The container should be large enough for the rodent to easily climb in and out of without causing any spills or other problems. If a sand bath is not provided, the Bushy-tailed Jird's fur will become greasy and will not isolate too well.

It is also important for this creature to have an ample amount of space for them to move. The minimum size of cage for a pair of Jird's is 60 by 40 centimeters, with a height of at least 30-40 centimeters.

It is strongly recommended that lime blocks be provided for your Jird. These creatures love to eat these blocks and once they have made them into a rounded shape, the Jirds will play football with them!

Breeding and Propagation: Relative Breeding Ease: Relatively Easy

Bushy-tailed Jirds become sexually mature at about three months of age. They are fully capable of producing their first litter at four months of age, but, in captivity, young mothers often reject their young and refuse to raise their pups. The average gestation period is about 21 days. The litter size will vary anywhere from two to nine pups, with the average being three to four. There are no known problems of the Bushy-tailed Jird reproducing in captivity, though if the aquarium they live in becomes overcrowded, the parents will refuse to raise their young any longer and cannibalism usually occurs. Therefore, it is extremely important that adequate space is provided or older Jirds be transferred to other cages. Also, if breeding in not monitored carefully, inbreeding will most likely occur and will result in deformities in the offspring.

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Wednesday, 1 October 2014