Small five-toed jerboa

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Small five-toed jerboa
Allactaga elater Plzen zoo 02.2011.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Dipodidae
Genus: Allactaga
Subgenus: Allactaga
A. elater
Binomial name
Allactaga elater
(Lichtenstein, 1828)

The small five-toed jerboa (Allactaga elater) is a rodent of the family Dipodidae and genus Allactaga, that has five digits.[2] They are hopping rodents of the rocky deserts in Asia.[1] They have been found in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan. They have long hind feet, short forelimbs, and walk upright.[3] The jerboa body length ranges from 5–15 cm and has a tail ranging from 7–25 cm.[4] They have large ears in comparison to their body size and a large tail. The tail assists and serves as support when the jerboa is standing upright.[5] These hopping rodents can reach a speed up to 48 km/hr.[1] The forelimbs of the jerboa serve as a pair of hands for feeding, grooming, etc.[6] The male jerboa is usually larger in size and weight in comparison to the female jerboa.[5] The pelt of the jerboa is either silky or velvety in texture and light in color,[7] the coloration helps camouflage into surroundings to avoid predators. "Its coloration varies from sandy or buff to dark russet or black with pale under parts and a white strip on the hip”.[1]

Adaptation to temperature conditions[edit]

Allactaga elater on a 2012 Armenian stamp

Jerboas are adapted to live in the desert, therefore they are called xerocole animals. In hot temperature conditions, they spend most of their day burrowed under sand to avoid the heat.[8] Burrowing under the sand, they evade the heat from the sun, minimizing water loss and avoiding dehydration. In cold temperature conditions, the Small five-toed Jerboa are capable of adjusting their body temperature 1–2 °C from the optimal temperature to minimize heat lost.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d Shenbrot, G.; Tsytsulina, K.; Batsaikhan, N.; Avirmed, D.; Tinnin, D.; Sukhchuluun, G. & Lkhagvasuren, D. (2008). "Allactaga elater". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2009.
  2. ^ Holden, M. E. and Musser, G. G. (2005) "Family Dipodidae", pp. 871–893 in Mammal Species of the World a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds.) Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.
  3. ^ Lagassé, Paul (2000) "Jerboa." in The Columbia Encyclopedia. 6th ed. New York: Columbia UP.
  4. ^ "Jerboa (rodent)." Encyclopædia Britannica. .
  5. ^ a b Kirmiz, John P. (1962) Adaptation to Desert Environment; A Study on the Jerboa, Rat and Man. London: Butterworths. p. 17.
  6. ^ Kirmiz, John P. (1962) Adaptation to Desert Environment; A Study on the Jerboa, Rat and Man. London: Butterworths. p. 29.
  7. ^ Miljutin, A. (2008). "Trends of Specialisation in Rodents: The Five-toed Jerboas, Subfamily Allactaginae (Dipodoidea, Rodentia)". Acta Zoologica Lituanica. 18 (4): 228–239. doi:10.2478/v10043-008-0033-9.
  8. ^ Hearst, Michael et al. (2012) Unusual Creatures: A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of the Earth's Strangest Animals. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 1452104670.
  9. ^ Hill, Richard W.; Lay, Douglas M. & Veghte, James H. (1974). "Body surface temperatures of jerboas (Allactaga) in uniform thermal environments". Journal of Comparative Physiology. 93 (2): 117–125. doi:10.1007/BF00696266.