Bushy tailed Jirds are found Arid and rocky environments
in many parts of in central Saudi Arabia Eastern, Egypt, Sinai, South-East Israel and Jordan.
the novice, Bushy Tailed Jirds appear similar to a Mongolian Gerbil. However they are actually quite different and unique
in their appearance. Also, they have different habitat requirements and special dietary considerations, than the common Pet
Store Gerbil. They are sweet natured social little animals that quickly learn to respond to their owners and I think that
is part of what makes this charming animal so attractive to pet owners.
body length is approximately 10 - 13 cm, not including the tail. The tail adds yet, another 13- 16 cm giving an overall length
of around 25 cm. In the wild mature animals weigh about 45- 50 grams while their captive cousins weigh almost double that.
tailed Jirds can be identified easily from their gerbil relatives by the color of their coats. Their fur is a yellowish, reddish-brown
color with black hairs scattered throughout its’ coat. There is a well
defined between the top/back colour and the belly which is a crisp white. The ears are grey and sometimes have white hairs
behind them. Their tails, which are brownish grey with white tips, are covered with long hairs that really stand out, creating
a feathery appearance. The males have an especially full and flashy tails. Bushy-
tailed Jirds have naked soles on their hind feet which assists them while climbing around the rocky surfaces, where they are
found naturally, in the wild. Their head is long and slender, with long whiskers, round eyes and large ears.
… It appears that according to BJT law, only the most affluent animals in the
community are permitted to carry the showy tail that trademarks this species. In a colony situation, the male and females
with the bushiest tail are most often the often the Alpha pair. In BTJ society everyone has their place, and it is all a natural
part of being able to identify the status of a particular member of their group. The
further down the ‘pecking order’ you are in BTJ society the less likely you will have that lush bushy tail and
to keep order in the group other members of the bushy tailed Jirds’ family groom
each other, paying more attention and excessively grooming the tail causing the
fur from growing in too long.
tailed jirds live in close knit family groups and being that they are such social creatures, not only is it unfair to keep
one alone in captivity but most likely they will perish without having the companionship
of other members of their own species.
setting up a home for a BTJ it is important to remember where they originate from and how they live in their natural environment.
They live in an arid, rocky environment and they make nests and burrows under boulders, and rock overhangs. They are very
good climbers and enjoy climbing and scurrying around investigating everything in their environment.
that BTJs enjoy burrowing and spend a lot of time excavating new tunnels, it is probably best to keep them in a large tank,
it is less messy. Their enclosure needs to be as large an area as you can provide them with. The smallest enclosure should
be no less then 20 gallon tall aquarium furnished with a tight fitting, escape proof, tank extension, on the top of it. If you have read that it is okay to keep them in a ten gallon aquarium you have been
misinformed. Jirds are very active and need space and they will make use of as much room as you are willing to provide them
tank should be equipped with numerous branches, platforms, safe non-toxic toys, and sisal ropes for them to climb on. They
also need several items that will serve as den sights. There should always be at least one extra den area per total pairs
of Bushy-Tailed Jirds pairs in the tank. All nests or dens should have two entrance
holes and they need to provide adequate darkness for the jirds to sleep in during the day. Although Bushy-tailed Jirds tend
to be nocturnal in the wild, it has been found they are also active during the day when they are kept in captivity.
bedding I suggest using a combination of fresh clean hay combined with shredded aspen wood bedding and fluffed absorbent newspaper.
BTJs will use the hay to build a nest and tunnel under and also it provides them with a little something to snack on when
they get bored. The newspaper and wood helps control odors and keeps the air
in the tanks a bit drier.