Small Five-Toed Jerboa

Small Five-Toed Jerboa Introduction:

If you have never heard of the jerboa, then you are in for a surprise. Sometimes confused with their American cousins, the kangaroo mice, these little rodents do in fact look like miniature kangaroos. Like all species of jerboas, small five-toed jerboas are bipeds, meaning that they move from place to place using their hind legs. The back legs are long and powerful, allowing them to run and leap at impressive speeds when necessary. Front limbs are mainly used for grooming and manipulating food, rather than walking. Jerboas live in hot and sandy deserts, where they are perfectly at home. The small five-toed jerboa lives in central Asia, from Turkey to Tajikistan to Russia. Their sandy-broad pelts help them to blend into their desert surroundings. Small five-toed jerboas spend most of the day burrowed under the sand in order to avoid the heat of the sun. This allows them to preserve water in the bodies rather than lose it to the dry air. During the cold winter nights, small five-toed jerboas are capable of warming themselves, adjusting their body temperature within two degrees celsius in order to minimize heat loss. Their long tails and large ears aid in temperature regulation. Coloration can vary based on their surroundings, and their muted colors help them to blend in and avoid being spotted by predators, such as the little owls of the central Asian desert. Males are usually larger when compared to females, in terms of size as well as weight, but neither are very large. Small five-toed jerboas feed on seeds, plants, and small insects. Jerboas will often dig four separate burrows for distinct purposes. Two temporary burrows are for hunting and scavenging—one for day and one for night. Two permanent burrows are for a more stable living space—one for winter and one for summer. Young jerboas are raised in these larger, more permanent burrows. Because large bodies of water are so rare in the desert, Jerboas engage in dust bathing in order to remove parasites from their fur. This may also serve to help them communicate with one another using their keen sense of smell.

Keywords to learn

Biped: an animal that moves on its rear to limbs.
Pelt: a thick growth of hair that covers many different mammals

About Me:

Hey Kids, my name is Jay the small five-toed jerboa  and I am very happy to meet you. Learn more about me and my species @

Small Five-Toed jerboa Data:

  • Order: Rodentia.
  • Lifespan: 5 years.
  • Class: Mammalia.
  • Scientific Name: Allactaga elater.
  • Mass: 59g (2oz).
  • Length: 5cm–15cm (2in–6in).
  • Region found: Central Asia.
  • Population Status: Least Concern.
  • Current population trend: Declining.
  • Diet: Herbivorous.
  • Sexual maturity: 8 months.


The small five-toed jerboa is a very interesting rodent with some incredibly distinctive features. Perfectly at home in their desert environment, jerboas are a wonderful example of animal adaptability and survival.


Now that you know more about the small five-toed jerboa by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.

Small Five-Toed Jerboa Facts for Kids:

  • # 1. Jerboas make sharp turns and great vertical leaps to confuse predators.
  • # 2. Jerboas are similar to kangaroo mice, jumping mice, kultarr, and springhares.
  • # 3. In pop culture, the muad’dib from Dune is thought to be a jerboa.
  • # 4. Jerboas have tails that are longer than their bodies.
  • # 5. The small five-toed jerboa has been featured on an Armenian stamp.

Q&A Corner

  • # 1. What is one predator of the small five-toed jerboa?
  • # 2. What is the range of the small five-toed jerboa
  • # 3. What to small five-toed jerboas eat?
  • # 4. Why do jerboas bathe in dust?
  • # 5. What class do jerboas belong to?


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