Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Mammals » Jumping Mice Birch Mice and Jerboas: Dipodidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Hairy-footed Jerboa (dipus Sagitta): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, JUMPING MICE BIRCH MICE JERBOAS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

Jumping Mice Birch Mice and Jerboas: Dipodidae - Hairy-footed Jerboa (dipus Sagitta): Species Account

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Physical characteristics: Also known as the feather-footed jerboa, rough-legged jerboa, and northern three-toed jerboa, the hairy-footed jerboa was first discovered in 1773. Its body ranges in length from 4.5 to 6 inches (11.5 to 14.5 centimeters), while its tail is typically 7 to 7.1 inches (17.5 to 18 centimeters) long. These mammals weigh between 2.4 and 4 ounces (69 to 104 grams). Underparts are white, and upperparts change from orangey and black in the winter to pale, sandy buff color in summer.


Geographic range: A resident of the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, the hairy-footed jerboa occupies ten isolated, large areas and several smaller fragments of habitat in the northern Iranian sand deserts, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, southwestern Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and eastern Russia.

Habitat: At the northern extreme of its range, the hairy-footed jerboa lives in sparsely vegetated areas of pine forests, but in general this mammal occupies sandy expanses of steppes, deserts, and semi-deserts. The hairy-footed jerboa eats mainly desert plants and seeds, but also occasionally eats insects. (Illustration by Patricia Ferrer. Reproduced by permission.) In central Asia, this jerboa also lives in places with hard rocky or gravel-strewn surfaces.


Diet: While the hairy-footed jerboa subsists mainly on desert plant greens and seeds, it occasionally preys on insects as well.


Behavior and reproduction: Hairy-footed jerboas mate with more than one individual during the breeding season in spring. Female bear two or three litters per season, in spring and fall. The spring-born animals can mate at two-and-a-half to three months, and usually participate in the fall mating. Pregnancy lasts thirty-five days, and the number of young varies from one to eight. In springtime, female adults are usually still nursing their fall litter when they mate again.

Hairy-footed jerboas are solitary creatures, although they willingly tolerate overlapping home ranges. The vast majority of their contacts in nature (versus those in captivity) are non-aggressive. When captive, males and females form pairs and sleep together in a single nest.


Hairy-footed jerboas and people: There are no records of significant interactions between this species and humans.


Conservation status: The hairy-footed jerboa is common in all of its habitats, with the exception of one subspecies, which is listed as Vulnerable because of the expansion of steppes through areas of open sand dunes in southeastern Russia. ∎

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books:

Boitani, Luigi. Simon and Schuster's Guide to Mammals. New York: Fireside Books, 1990.

Corbet, G. B., and J. E. Hill. A World List of Mammalian Species. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Nowak, Ronald M. "Birch Mice and Jumping Mice." Walker's Mammals of the World Online 5.1. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/walkers_mammals_of_the_world/rodentia/rodentia.zapodidae.html (accessed on June 13, 2004).

Nowak, Ronald M. "Jerboas." Walker's Mammals of the World Online 5.1. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/walkers_mammals_of_the_world/rodentia/rodentia.dipodidae.html (accessed on June 13, 2004).

Simon, Noel. Nature in Danger: Threatened Habitats and Species. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Web sites:

"Family Dipodidae." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Dipodidae.html (accessed June 24, 2004).

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