Because J. jaculus is solitary, not much is known about how individuals communicate with one another. Animals in captivity seem to recognize each other by smell. They close their eyes and come together until thier noses touch and keep contact for 1 to 5 seconds in this way.
Communication Channels: tactile ; chemical
Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; vibrations ; chemical
As of right now, this species is not on any conservation lists.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern
There are no known adverse affects of J. jaculus on humans.
Some humans eat jerboas for food. Jerboas are becoming popular pets because they are easily tameable and do not commonly bite.
Positive Impacts: pet trade ; food
Jaculus jaculus as prey provides nourishment and water to other animals in the desert. It helps to disperse seeds in the desert. A vacated jerboa burrow could become home to spiders and scorpions. Jerboas are also homes themselves for numerous kinds of parasites such as ticks, fleas, mites, lice.
Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds; creates habitat
Although lesser Egyptian jerboas lives in the desert, they do not drink, depending on the greens and insects that they eat to provide enough water and moisture. Their diet consists of roots, grass, seeds, grains, with some insects.
Animal Foods: insects
Plant Foods: roots and tubers; seeds, grains, and nuts
Primary Diet: herbivore (Granivore )
Jaculus jaculus can be found in central Asia, North Africa and Arabia in countries such as Sudan, Israel, and Morocco. The species is especially common in Egypt, where it gets its common name, Lesser Egyptian Jerboa.
Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native )
Jaculus jaculus lives in desert and semi-desert areas that can be sandy or stony. They can also be found in less numbers in rocky valleys and meadows.
Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial
Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune
Jaculus jaculus cannot be bred in captivity due to lack of maternal care. However, captured young jerboas have been successfully tamed and kept as pets. These tame jerboas can live up to 6 years. The oldest jerboa found in the wild was 4 years old.
Status: wild: 3 to 4 years.
Status: captivity: 5 to 6.4 years.
Status: wild: 2 to 3 years.
Jaculus jaculus is the smallest species in the genus Jaculus. It is very small with a darkish back and lighter colored underbelly. There is also a light-colored stripe across its hip. Jerboas are a lot like a tiny kangaroo in locomotion and posture. The hind feet are incredibly large, 50 to 75 mm, and used for jumping. Each hind foot has three toes. The tail is very long, 128 to 250 mm, with a clump of hairs at the tip which is used for balance. It has moderately large eyes and ears. Females are larger than males.
Range mass: 43 to 73 g.
Average mass: 55 g.
Range length: 95 to 110 mm.
Average length: 100 mm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: female larger
Average basal metabolic rate: 0.515 W.
Jaculus jaculus is very fast when hopping and escape seems to be its defense against predators. Individuals often run down into their burrows to get away as well. They do not bite often when handled, so they do not have any real means of defense against predators when caught. The predators of this species are desert carnivores including pallid foxes (Vulpes pallida), Nile foxes (Vulpes vulpes), striped weasels (Ictonyx striatus), saw-scaled vipers (Echis carinatus), and moila snakes (Malpolon moilensis). Some humans eat jerboas as well.
Not much is known about the mating system of J. jaculus because they are solitary and nocturnal. However, it appears as though a male will mate with any number of females he comes across, while a female will mate with only one male.
Mating System: polygynous
A male jerboa attracts a mate by standing on his hind legs in front of a female. When the female approaches, he faces her and slaps her at regular intervals with his short front limbs. Lesser Egyptian jerboas breed at least twice yearly, and every three months in captivity. Breeding occurs from June to July and from October to December. Females have an average of 3 young per litter. Young reach independence at 8 to 10 weeks, and become sexually mature at 8 to 12 months.
Breeding interval: Lesser Egyptian jerboas breed at least twice yearly, and every three months in captivity.
Breeding season: Breeding occurs from June to July and from October to December.
Range number of offspring: 1 to 6.
Average number of offspring: 3.
Average gestation period: 25 days.
Average weaning age: 6 weeks.
Range time to independence: 8 (low) weeks.
Average time to independence: 10 weeks.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 8 to 12 months.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization ; viviparous
Average birth mass: 2 g.
Average gestation period: 45 days.
Average number of offspring: 3.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male: 137 days.
Jaculus jaculus bred in captivity do not survive. The mother will not touch the pups after they are born. In one case, the mother kicked the babies out of the nest. In the wild, however, the babies and the female are brought into close contact in the burrow. At birth, the pups are hairless and tiny with a head and body around 25 mm, tail around 16 mm. They weigh about 2 g and their hind feet are much shorter in proportion to adults at around 9 mm. Their eyes are closed over, but they can crawl around using their front limbs. The young will not leave the burrow until they are able to be self-sufficient at around 8 weeks of age.
Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Female)
A small rodent, it is sometimes likened to a tiny kangaroo due to its incredibly large hind legs, and hopping form of locomotion. The lesser Egyptian jerboa has three toes on each of its hind feet and a very long tail, used for balance when jumping. It has large eyes and ears and a rather stubby snout, and its coat is a pale or dark sandy colour with a paler underside.
The lesser Egyptian jerboa is a strictly nocturnal species, feeding on seeds, insects, succulent parts of desert grasses, and fungi (desert truffles Terfezia species), which it detects using its acute sense of smell. Amazingly, it does not need to drink in order to survive the arid desert conditions, relying on its food to provide it with all its water needs. The lesser Egyptian jerboa can travel long distances in search of food, up to ten kilometres a day, which it easily covers thanks to its large feet and hopping stride; the jerboa is known to leap up to three metres in a single bound.
The lesser Egyptian jerboa lives in burrows, dug in counter clockwise spirals with its forelimbs and teeth, which it uses for a variety of functions. The permanent burrows are often complex systems with multiple entrances and exits, consisting of storage chambers, hibernation chambers and a nesting chamber at the very bottom. The burrows are well-hidden and sealed with a plug of sand in late spring and summer to keep the heat out and moisture in, providing an ideal place for the animal to rest, evade predators and escape from the heat of the day. This species has also been observed sheltering under desert truffles. During particularly hot or dry spells the jerboa will aestivate in the burrow and in winter it is thought to hibernate, but this has only been reported in a few individuals.
Not much is known about the breeding habits of jerboas due to their solitary and nocturnal nature. However, breeding is known to occur at least twice a year, between June to July and from October to December. Males attempt to attract females by performing a bizarre ritual display; standing on its hind legs in front of an approaching female, the male faces his potential mate and then begins to slap the female at regular intervals with his short front limbs. A successful mating usually produces a litter of four to five young that become independent at around eight to ten weeks, and sexually mature at eight to twelve months. On the whole, the lesser Egyptian jerboa is silent but when disturbed or handled it can emit grunting noises or shrill shrieks.
The lesser Egyptian jerboa inhabits desert areas, which may be either sandy or rocky.
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