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The Long-Eared Jerboa

Updated on March 31, 2012

The Long-Eared What?

The long-eared jerboa, found in Mongolia and China, is a mouse-like rodent with extremely interesting features. Some scientists believe it might be a distant relative of the gerbil. This small, nocturnal mammal is only three inches long with a tail twice it's body length. The long-eared jerboa's long tail gives it good balance while it runs and jumps. This tail is the same color as the rest of the body but ends with a black and white tuft. The long-eared jerboa weighs, on average, one ounce.

Long-eared jerboas are reddish/brown in color with white bellies.

These rodents have long hind legs and move much like kangaroos. They have large back feet. Their soles are covered with stiff hairs that help them travel across the desert floor. Their front legs are rather small, relatively speaking, making them useless for locomotion.

The long-eared jerboa is now being considered for the endangered species list. Their population is rapidly declining due to habitat disturbance. Humans are taking over the long-eared jerboa's habitat. An increase in grazing livestock doesn't help this mammal's cause. Steps are now being taken to protect the long-eared jerboa.

The Long-Eared Jerboa
The Long-Eared Jerboa | Source

Huh? What Did You Say?

The long-eared jerboa's most unique characteristic is in it's name...its long ears. Three times the size of their heads, the jerboa's ears allow them to hear predators from a great distance.

During the day, long-eared jerboas hide in underground burrows. At night, they scurry across the desert floor looking for insects and other small critters. They are able to find insects with their keen sense of hearing. It is this acute sense that allows them to prey on flying insects as well.

Long-eared jerboas use vibrations to communicate with one another. They also engage in chemical communication by engaging in dust bathing.

The rodent's large ears are also said to be a desert adaptation. The larger ear surface allows them to dissipate heat and cool down their blood under the hot, desert sun.

Teeny Tiny Babies

Can you imagine how small the long-eared jerboa's babies must be?  Microscopic!

The long-eared jerboa mommas have two litters of babies per summer.  They begin as soon as they come out of hibernation.  They are in gestation for roughly 30 days and bear litters ranging in size from two to six.

Never Heard Of Them

Because long-eared jerboas live in such remote parts of Mongolia and China, scientists have a tough time studying them. As a result, very little is known about this tiny creature. The first video ever shot of these little rodents was in 2007. 

The Long-Eared Jerboa In Action


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    • gypsumgirl profile image

      gypsumgirl 5 years ago from Vail Valley, Colorado

      animalControl: I'm glad this article was helpful to you.

    • profile image

      animalControl 5 years ago

      i am also studying this cute and adorable creature for a school project and the info about their ears really helped. i havnt seen that anywhere else

    • gypsumgirl profile image

      gypsumgirl 6 years ago from Vail Valley, Colorado

      Hi everyone...I apologize for neglecting this hub...I've been "offline" for a few days.

      What is Q: Thanks for the comment. Wasn't the video hilarious? They do kind of skip across the ground...

      BkCreative: The critter is interesting overall...I bet it has bionic hearing!!

      cardelean: Thanks for your continual support...I'm glad you enjoyed the info.

      animal lover: Good luck with your studies. I hope the information helped you in your research.

    • profile image

      animal lover 6 years ago

      that thing is so cute. i am studing it for school

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Very cool hub! I enjoyed the information.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Wow! This was fascinating - and I've learned something new. How interesting that the ears are used in so many beneficial ways. Ah, nature - love it! Love the ears! What a tail - what a video!

      Thanks a million and rated up!

    • What Is Q profile image

      Adam 6 years ago from Tennessee

      The long-eared what? That was my exact reaction. But the thing's cute, I have to say. I like the way it just kind of bounces when it walks. I watched that video twice.