All Pets Big and Small

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RODENTS AS PETS: Gerbils & Jirds   Other Mammals

Started 6/16/17 by PennyCC; 290 views.

From: PennyCC


Small rodents include hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, mice, and rats. There are larger rodents that might also be the right pet for you, such as chinchillas, jirds, degus, dormice, duprasi, chipmunks, squirrels, prairie dogs, and Patagonian cavies. Before you commit to a pet, it is always best to do your research and find out as much as possible about how to care for your new pet.

This is the first of a series of threads about rodents as pets.

Gerbils & Jirds


All Jirds are gerbils, but not all gerbils are Jirds - the mongolian gerbil for example, is also known as the clawed Jird and has the furred feet, ears and tail that help identify this. Gerbils are related to mice and rats, and more distantly, squirrel-like rodents. Almost all are omnivorous and salthough most diurnal, and active during the night and sleeping in the day, pet gerbils can exhibit crepuscular behaviour where they are most active at dawn and dusk.

Bushy-tailed Jird (Sekeetamys calurus) are simimilar in size to a mongolian gerbil but with a more elongated build. They have a bushed tail similar to a dormouses and are curious and friendly in nature.

Fat-tailed Gerbil also known as a Duprasi (Pachyuromys Duprasis) are long-lived, medium sized rodents that can exhibit more hamster like behaviour than typical burrowing, curious nature of a gerbil. There is some confusion over algerian and egyptian imports. Their distinct rounded tail is used to store water and is a good indicator of health.

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NOTE: Most jirds are bigger than gerbils.

  • Edited June 16, 2017 10:03 pm  by  PennyCC
In reply toRe: msg 1

From: PennyCC


Handling a jird

Sue from Harper Adams University College explains to students how to correctly handle a jird.

In reply toRe: msg 2

From: PennyCC


Persian Jird Information

What are they?

Persian Jirds (Meriones persicus) are large relatives of the Mongolian gerbil commonly sold in pet shops. I'm going to write a bit here about our experience with our pair that we bought in February 2000 from Chris Henwood who breeds and writes about exotic rodents. There are lots of links on my Persian Jirds Links page for information on their general care and I don't really want to reproduce the information there so I've just put the information that I have learnt from keeping them here.

A Persian Jird is similar to a large Mongolian Gerbil. However, it is an altogether more elegant animal with a grace of movement almost like that of a cat. Persian Jirds are nocturnal and h ave large eyes and ears that are very sensitive to noise. These ears can move around in the direction that noise is coming from, or can be laid flat against the head if some inconsiderate person makes a lot of noise by, say, hoovering around their cage. They are very good climbers and their most obvious feature is the most beautiful tail that is about one and a half times as long as the Jird. It is used for balance when climbing and also for communication - an irritated Jird will swish its tail at you in an s-motion which is amazing to see.

One of the other outstanding things about Persian Jirds is their temperament. They are colony animals and are very good natured with each other. I have never seen a disagreement between our two and the male even puts up with having his tail used as a toy by the babies. They now have the male baby living with them - baby is not the right word for him as he's now a hulking great adult. I was a little bit nervous as if you did this with Mongolian gerbils there would be big trouble but they all get along fine. Once they are used to their environment they can become almost fearless with people.

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