Get to Know the Fat-tailed Gerbil

This is a Fat-Tailed Gerbil also known as Duprasi.
Pachyuromys duprasi is found in desert regions of Egypt and Morocco. They are exceptionally adorable animals, about 3-4 inches in length with soft, silky fur. Their tail is a real conversation piece. It is covered with small hairs like peach fuzz and is about 2 inches long. This tail has a most peculiar quality. The tail can become thickened and club-like when the animal is well-fed. It is where the animal stores part of its excess fat. Nursing mothers usually lose weight in their tail but quickly regain its original shape after weaning the litter. The color of the fur can vary slightly and is normally gray to buff brown. Some animals are decidedly more apricot-colored than others. They have short ears and well-developed claws for digging.

In the wild they eat leaves, seeds and insects. In captivity, we recommend feeding them gerbil/mouse dry mixture, alfalfa hay, rodent block and meal worms. An occasional treat of fresh fruits and veggies such as apples, pears, sweet potatoes, carrots, romaine lettuce, etc. will be welcomed by this adorable little animal. The rodent block is a necessary addition because it will not only provide nutrition, but will help satisfy their chewing needs.

Gestation is 19 to 22 days can go as long as 28 with litter size ranging from 3 to 6. These animals can breed up to 3 times a year. They become mature sexually at about 6 months of age. Captive specimens have lived 5 to 7 years.

They need a nest box in their enclosure in which to sleep, build their nest and raise their family. Nest boxes can be made from many 'cast-off' articles around the house, such as an old camp coffee pot turned on its side, an opaque water pitcher, etc. Cardboard or wooden containers are not suitable because they are difficult to disinfect. Plastic containers will eventually be chewed beyond recognition. We keep large quantities of breeders paired off in 1' x 1' x 2' wire cages made of 1" x 2" mesh. We use 1/4" mesh on the floor of the case to prevent loss of babies and spilled food. They can also be kept in 5.5 gallon aquariums. We recommend aquariums for pets. They should be kept from 70 to 80 degrees F.

Water should be supplied in a water bottle that has a stainless steel spout. These animals are voracious chewers and will destroy anything plastic or rubber. Be sure that your aquarium has a top that is made of strong wire because they can chew threw the tops made of plastic mesh. Use dishes that are crockery or metal. Be sure they cannot climb up the water bottle holder. These animals can climb readily, but normally do not jump.

As a special treat, give them a small bowl of clean sand to dust in occasionally. This will help keep their fur from becoming too oily.

These little animals are naturally gentle and rarely bite like hamsters do. Mothers with babies and occasionally a wild caught animal or one that is rarely handled will give a warning nip.

Handle youngsters after their eyes are opened to get them used to you and the smell of humans. They become loving and wonderful pets and the soft fur is very pleasant to the touch.


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