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Last updated date: 14th Jul 2024
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Jerboa Meaning

Jerboa is a word derived from the Arabic word ‘Jarbu,’ it is a hopping desert rodent belonging to the family of Dipodidae. 

Jerboa Mouse is a desert-dwelling rodent with very long hind legs. Hind legs help him to walk upright and perform long jumps. Jerboa species have their habitat starting from North Africa to Central Asia. Also, these species tend to stay in hot places.

The specialty of a long eared Jerboa species is, when it is chased, it can run at up to 24 kilometres per hour (15 mph).

However, some species become prey to little owls (Athene noctua) in central Asia.

Besides this, jerboa species have the extraordinary hearing ability that helps them off becoming prey of nocturnal predators. Jerboa mice can survive for a maximum of six years.

The Jerboa animal has its naming and taxonomy, classification and paleontology, description, adaptations, habitat, diet, life cycle, the purpose of living, and subspecies, which we will understand on this page. 

Besides these key points on four toed Jerboa, we will have a look at some amazing Jerboa Animal Facts.

What is a Jerboa Animal?

Jerboa is any of the 33 species among the long-tailed leaping rodents. They are well adapted to arid regions and steppes of eastern Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. 

They resemble mice with body lengths ranging between 5 and 15 cm (2 to 5.9 inches) in length and long tails of 7 to 25 cm. 

Certain traits, like the size of the ears, vary between species, i.e., it may range from small and round to slender and rabbitlike or exceptionally large and broad. 

Hind toes number may also vary from three to five in a count, however, all species have short forelegs and extremely long hind legs. Often the tail is tufted,  dense fur is either silky or velvety in texture and light in appearance, usually matching the ground of the animal’s habitat. You can see these characteristics in the below Jerboa Animal image:

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Jerboa Scientific Classification


Jerboa Classification

Scientific name/Binomial name

Allactaga tetradactyla

Temporal Range

Middle Miocene–Recent

Conservation Status

Least Concern (IUCN 3.1) 













Groups Included




Euchoreutinae - Long-Eared Jerboa

Classically included but traditionally excluded taxonomy

Sicistinae - birch mice

Zapodinae - jumping mice

Jerboa Classification and Paleontology





  • Subfamily Zapodinae: hopping mice, four    species in three genera

  • Subfamily Sicistinae: birch mice

Subfamily Cardiocraniinae


  • Five-toed pygmy jerboa, Cardiocranius paradoxus


  • Thick-tailed pygmy jerboa, Salpingotus crassicauda

  • Heptner's pygmy jerboa, Salpingotus heptneri

  • Kozlov's pygmy jerboa, Salpingotus kozlovi

  • Baluchistan pygmy jerboa, Salpingotus michaelis

  • Pallid pygmy jerboa, Salpingotus pallidus

  • Thomas's pygmy jerboa, Salpingotus thomasi

Subfamily Dipodinae


  • Northern three-toed jerboa, Dipus sagitta


  • Lichtenstein's jerboa, Eremodipus lichensteini


  • Blanford's jerboa, Jaculus blanfordi

  • Lesser Egyptian jerboa, Jaculus jaculus

  • Greater Egyptian jerboa, Jaculus orientalis

  • Turkmen jerboa, Jaculus turcmenicus


  • Andrews's three-toed jerboa, Stylodipus andrewsi

  • Mongolian three-toed jerboa, Stylodipus sungorus

  • Thick-tailed three-toed jerboa, Stylodipus telum

Subfamily Euchoreutinae


  • Long-eared jerboa, Euchoreutes naso

Subfamily Allactaginae


  • Balikun jerboa, Allactaga balikunica

  • Gobi jerboa, Allactaga bullata

  • Small five-toed jerboa, Allactaga elater

  • Euphrates jerboa, Allactaga euphratica

  • Iranian jerboa, Allactaga firouzi

  • Hotson's jerboa, Allactaga hotsoni

  • Great jerboa, Allactaga major

  • Severtzov's jerboa, Allactaga severtzovi

  • Mongolian five-toed jerboa, Allactaga sibirica

  • Four-toed jerboa, Allactaga tetradactyla

  • Vinogradov's jerboa, Allactaga vinogradovi

  • Bobrinski's jerboa, Allactodipus bobrinskii


  • Lesser fat-tailed jerboa, Pygeretmus platyurus

  • Dwarf fat-tailed jerboa, Pygeretmus pumilio

  • Greater fat-tailed jerboa, Pygeretmus shitkovi

Subfamily Paradipodinae


  • Comb-toed jerboa, Paradipus ctenodactylus

Jerboa Living Pattern

Jerboas can hop at a height of 3 metres (10 feet) at abound when agitated or traveling swiftly, while moving slowly, they walk on their hind legs and sometimes hop by using all four limbs. 

The long tail uprights the animal when it stands and is used for balance when it springs away. During the day, jerboas rest in a burrow, however, at night, they form a large group to forage for seeds, succulent parts of plants, and insects. 

Among these species, some of them plug their burrow entrances with soil to contain moisture and expel hot air out. Most are inactive during winter. Although jerboas drink water in imprisonment, in natural habitats they seize it from food. 

Jerboa Behaviour

The bipedal movement of jerboas incorporates hopping, skipping, and running gaits. Additionally, it is related to quick and frequent, hard-to-anticipate variations in speed and direction, facilitating predator avoidance relative to quadrupedal locomotion. This may clarify why the development of bipedal motion is supported in desert-dwelling rodents that forage in open habitats.

Jerboas are crepuscular, implying that they are dynamic and night, and during the heat of the day, they cover in burrows. 

At night, they leave the burrows because of the cooler temperature. They dig the doorways to their burrow near plant life, particularly along field borders.

During the rainy season, they make burrows in hills or slopes to lessen the danger of flooding. 

In the summer, jerboas occupy holes close to the entrance to expel hot air and, some researchers speculate, predators. 

By and large, burrows are prepared with an emergency exit that ends just underneath or opens at the surface but is not firmly obstructed. This permits the jerboa to rapidly escape predators.

Related jerboas frequently make four kinds of tunnels. A transitory, summer day tunnel is utilized for cover while chasing during the sunlight. They have a second, transitory tunnel utilized for chasing around evening time. They likewise have two perpetual tunnels: one for summer and one for winter. The perpetual summer tunnel is effectively utilized all through the late spring and the youthful are raised there. Jerboas sleep throughout the colder time of year and utilize the perpetual winter tunnel for this. Brief tunnels are more limited long than perpetual tunnels. 

Jerboas are lone animals. When they arrive at adulthood, they ordinarily have their own tunnel and quest for food all alone. Notwithstanding, incidental "free colonies" may frame, whereby a few types of jerboa burrow collective tunnels that offer additional warmth when it is cold outside.

Jerboa Anatomy and Body Features

Jerboas look to some degree like smaller than usual kangaroos and have some outside similarities. 

Both have long hind legs, extremely short forelegs, and long tails. Jerboas move around likewise to kangaroos, which is by jumping. 

Like other bipedal creatures, their foramen magnum - the opening at the foundation of the skull - is forward-shifted, which upgrades two-legged headway. 

The tail of a jerboa can be longer than its head and body and it is entirely expected to see a white group of hair toward the finish of the tail. Jerboas utilize their tail to adjust while jumping, and as a prop when sitting upright. Jerboa hide is fine, and normally the shade of sand. This tone ordinarily coordinates with the jerboa’s natural surroundings (an illustration of cryptic colouration). 

A few types of the jerboa family have long ears like a hare, while others have ears that are short, similar to those of a mouse or a rat.

Jerboa Body Features 

Now, let us define the Jerboa Body Features one by one:

  • Body

The body is roughly shaped like a mouse or rat, covered with long silky soft fur, generally (depending on the species) buff to dark sandy colored on upperparts, lighter colored underparts.

Here, the earthly-coloured fur on the surface allows the jerboa to mix in with its desert surroundings. This means fur works as a protective shield against predators.

  • Head

The skull of jerboas resemble a mouse or rat; nose, well-built, adapted for tunneling burrows for shelter; large eyes adapted for nocturnal (night) activity; ears, vary from large to very large, depending on the type of jerboa species, and protected by stiff hairs; teeth, curved and grooved chisel-like incisors and strong molars well-built for consuming the tough plant materials of desert areas; sensory whiskers, long and adapted for sensing immediate surroundings in the nightfall or within burrows.

  • Ears

Among the body parts, the ears are the third longer sense organ than its head; handy for hearing stealthy predators.

  • Leg and Feet

Hind legs are four times longer than forelegs; they are specifically designed for prodigious leaps up to the height of six to seven feet and perhaps ten feet in length; 

Jerboas have large hind feet with central bones that are fused for added endurance and support in leaping; four toed jerboa (a.k.a Asiatic jerboas) or three toed )a.k.a African jerboas); digits and soles are suorted with hair tufts to enhance mobility - resembles snowshoes - in loose sand; forelegs, tiny, arm-like with a forepaw.

Front Legs or the Forelegs

Comically short, but perfectly befitted for holding insects close to its mouth.

Back Feet

The back feet of a Jerboa are connected to its powerful legs and largely elongated. It springs when the jerboa hops.

  • Soles

Soles are covered in tufts of stiff hair that give the animal’s feet a firmer hold on slippery sand.

  • Tail

A long tufted tail of a jerboa serves as a prop when it stands upright.

  • Senses

Jerobras have sharply developed abilities for smell, hearing, and dim-light vision.

Long Eared Jerboa 

Long Eared Jerboa, also known as Euchoreutes naso. It has some special features that we will discuss below:

  • Range -  Jerboa ranges from Southern Mongolia to northwest China.

  • Jerboa Size - Body and head -  Body and head: 2.75"-3.5"; Tail size: lie between 6"6.4."

  • Jerboa Diet  -  Comprises almost entirely of insects.

  • Threat to Jerboa  -  1. Human disturbance from livestock grazing; 2. the presence of domestic cats; and 3. Drought.

  • Jerboa Habitat -  Many species reside in arid lands near oases or valleys. 

They forage (search for food or provisions) for food in open areas with sparse vegetation - frequently to avoid competing with gerbils, which live in many of the same areas but like consuming heavier vegetation.

  • Species - The long eared jerboa is known as a four toed jerboa. It is one of 33 jerboa species whose habitat ranges from North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula to Asia.

About Jerboa

The Below List Comprises Jerboa Characteristics:

  • Diet

  • Reproduction

  • Communication and perception


Most jerboas depend on plant material as the primary part of their eating routine, yet they can't eat hard seeds. A few animal groups entrepreneurially eat scarabs and different insects they go over. In contrast to gerbils, jerboas are not known to store their food.

Communication and Perception

Numerous species inside the family Dipodidae participate in dust washing. Residue washing is frequently an approach to utilize synthetic correspondence. Their sharp hearing recommends they may utilize sounds or vibrations to communicate.


Mating frameworks of firmly related species in the family Dipodidae propose that they might be polygynous. For some firmly related jerboa species mating ordinarily happens a brief time frame subsequent to getting up from winter hibernation. 

A female breeds twice in the summer, and raises from two to six youthful. Growth time is somewhere in the range of 25 and 35 days. Little is thought about parental interest in long eared jerboas. Like most mammals, female nurses care for their young at any rate until they are weaned.

Pygmy Jerboa 

The pygmy jerboa or the Baluchistan pygmy jerboa is a dwarf three-toed jerboa. It is a species of rodent, named S. michaelis. It belongs to the family of Dipodidae and phylum Chordata.

(Image will be Uploaded Soon)

It is the only species in the genus Salpingotulus. The adult pygmy jerboa has an average body and head size of only 4.4 cm with the tail averaging 8 cm. 


However, adult females weigh around 3.75 g. Its current conservation status is considered to be endemic to Pakistan. 

Jerboa Life Cycle

The jerboa has likewise kept its mating and nurturing conduct to a great extent mysterious, however, it breeds a few times every year. The female brings forth two to six - commonly three - stripped and vulnerable youthful, after a generally long pregnancy. As per specialists D. Eilam and G. Shefer, Department of Zoology, Ramat-Aviv, Israel, an infant puppy's "hind legs and forelegs are of a similar length, the tail is short, skin pigmentation and hide are missing, and the eyes and ears are shut."

Now, let’s take a glimpse at amazing and interesting Jerboa Animal Facts. 

Jeorba Animal Facts

  • A four toed jerboa is under the red list as per the IUCN data.  They are native to Egypt and Libya. Also, they are found in coastal salt marshes and dry deserts.

  • Jerboa, hopping mice, and kangaroo rodents can adjust comparatively to abandon conditions. Each of the three has profoundly evolved rear legs, lives in profound tunnels, and once in a while drinks water. Some desert rodents get the entirety of their dampness from food and preserve water through an uncommon metabolic interaction.

  • With additional exploration, the jerboa's initial development may yield new comprehension of post-pregnancy "life structures, histology, physiology, and engine conduct," said Eilam and Shefer. 

  • Comparable with the length of its front legs, the jerboa's back legs are longer than those of the kangaroo, as indicated by the Encyclopedia Britannica, Ninth Edition. 

  • While inconsequential, the jerboa, the Australian bouncing mouse, and the North American kangaroo rodent have all evolved comparative variations to sandy, bone-dry conditions, giving an illustration of focalized development. 

  • Incredibly bashful and tricky, the jerboa side steps almost any endeavor at the catch. Notwithstanding said the Encyclopedia Britannica, Ninth Edition, "The Arabs...succeed, it is said, in this by quitting for the day the ways out from the tunnels with a solitary exemption, by which along these lines they are compelled to come, and over which a net is set for their catch." 

  • It is purportedly the jerboa - alluded to as a mouse - that discovers notice in the Bible, in the book of Leviticus, when the offspring of Israel are advised about they should not eat: "These additions will be messy to you among the crawling things that drag upon the earth: the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise."


Contrasted to different rodents, the infant jerboa grows gradually. "...their rear legs don't create until they are two months old," as per People's Trust for the Environment. "They cannot hop until they are 11 weeks old. Jerboas are physically adult at 14 weeks, double the age at which rodents are developed." Once the youthful jerboa leaves the home and accomplishes autonomy, it might "live in the wild for as long as 6 years, double the life expectancy of rodents."

FAQs on Jerboa

Q1: Describe the Physical Appearance of a Four Toed Jerboa.

Ans: Alike other jerboas in the genus Allactaga, the four-toed jerboas are small jumping rodents. 

These species have large ears and a long tail with a black stripe near the white, feathery tip. 

The tail helps and serves as supports when jerboa stands upright. Also, they have long hind feet and tiny forelegs.

Additionally, the pelt of the four-toed jerboa has a velvet texture and the upper parts are speckled, i.e., covered or marked with a large number of small spots or patches of black and orange colour, rump orange, and the sides gray. 

Though four-toed jerboa hind-limbs have four digits as compared to other jerboas in the genus Allactaga, where the extra digit is smaller in size and nonfunctional when compared to the other three digits.

Q2: Write About Three-Toed Jerboas.

Ans: Northern three-toed jerboas have an average body and head size between 100 to 155 mm (4 to 6 in) and a tail length of 145 to 190 mm (5.7 to 7.5 in). 

They weigh between 56 and 117 g (2 and 4 oz). The upper parts have an ochre-brown to reddish-brown appearance, a white band initiates from the base of the tail across the hips, and the underparts are white. 

As the name suggests, their hind feet have three toes, the middle three metatarsal bones are fused to form a single structure. Additionally, they have long white hairs on their upper surfaces and pads of tuff hairs under the toes. The long tail has a terminal tassel/architecture, which is black with a white tip.

Q3: Explain the Distribution, Habitat, and Diet of Jerboas.

Ans: The jerboa's reach stretches out from Asia west-southwestward across northern Africa. It regularly favors parched sandy territories, for example, the Gobi Desert, where temperatures may tumble to approach zero during the cold of winter, and the Sahara Desert, where temperatures may ascend to in excess of 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the warmth of summer. Scrounging basically around evening time, the jerboa eats plants, seeds, and insects, contingent upon its food to address its issue for water. It might never really drink free water for the duration of its life. 

Q4: Do Jerboas Live in Australia?

Ans: Quite a long ago, ruminants of jerboas followed and huge eared with stilt like rear legs; these species are the two types of Antechinomys, likewise of the Australian outback.

The IUCN (Internal Union of Conservation and Nature) Red Data Book records the eastern jerboa marsupial, or kultarr (Antechinomys laniger), of Australia as jeopardized; a few other marsupial (having pocket like a kangaroo) mice are considered uncommon.

Q5: Why are Jerboas Banned in the US?

Ans: In the United States, tragically, jerboas have been out of the pet exchange for perhaps as long as 20 years. This is on account of a terrible boycott of African rodents by the CDC. Jerboas are additionally remarkable pets where they aren't lawful on the grounds that they are hard to raise and require a ton of room.