The Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) is a small rodent found in Central Asia and kept as pets in several parts of the world. They are also known as Mongolian jirds.
These gerbils are distinguished from other members of the mouse family Muridae by their large eyes and well-furred tails. Males have a pronounced scent gland on their belly. In the wild, they have a sandy buff color, but in captivity, their color varies. They weigh 50-60 grams.
The Mongolian gerbil inhabits steppe and semi-desert regions where they feed on certain grasses and herbs such as mugwort. In captivity, there are seed-based diets available for gerbils.
In the wild, these gerbils breed from February until October. They produce 4-7 offspring after gestation period of 3-4 weeks or somewhat longer if the female had recently given birth. They are ready to reproduce at 5-7 weeks of age.
The Mongolian gerbil is listed as “least concern” by the IUCN. They have a wide distribution with no major threats. They are the most popular gerbil species in the pet trade.