Pallid Gerbil

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Pallid Gerbil (29789 bytes)

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Pallid Gerbils as Pets


The Pallid gerbil (Gerbillus Perpallidus) lives in the arid areas of North Africa and is sometimes confused with the Egyptian Gerbil (Gerbillus Gerbillus) which is a different, although very similar species.

In appearance this gerbil is quite different to the Mongolian Gerbil usually seen in pet shops. Firstly it is smaller. Males are about three-quarters the size of an adult Mongolian Gerbil whilst the female is significantly smaller still. The colouring is both lighter and brighter than that of the agouti coloured Mongolian Gerbil. The overall effect is much more orange than brown, and the belly is brilliant white. The body and limbs are much more finely boned than the Mongolian Gerbil and the tail is much longer, only sparsely haired and with no tuft. Eyes are much larger in proportion to the head that is much more pointed in shape. The ears are larger and stand more erect.


A Pallid Gerbil


Pallid Gerbils as Pets

Pallids make good pets. In general their habits and temperament are like those of the Mongolian Gerbil. They are social animals who seem to get bored and depressed when kept alone. They will live quite happily in single sex groups but large groups containing both sexes are sometimes unstable with occasional outbreaks of violence. In most respects they can be kept in the same manner as Mongolian Gerbils.

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Pallids are very keen on burrowing and should therefore be kept in a tank instead of a cage. They like climbing so items suspended from the lid of the tank is a good idea.

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They eat the same mix of seeds etc. They are more likely than Mongolian Gerbils to eat insects such as mealworms if offered and are less likely to eat fruit and vegetables.


Pallid gerbils pair up in the same way as Mongolian Gerbils. All the advice in the Gerbil FAQ on breeding and sexing is valid for Pallids. The only differences are that Pallids seem to gestate for a slightly shorter period and that they take slightly longer to become sexually mature.

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I am grateful to who has sent me the following information.

PALLID GERBIL (Gerbillus perpallidus)

DISTRIBUTION IN EGYPT - Western Desert between the western part of Nile Delta, Qattara Depression, and Western Mediterranean Coastal Desert environs El Hamman.

DIAGNOSIS - Medium size gerbil with pale orangish upper parts lacking dorsal stripe. Tail brush relatively inconspicuous, fuscous. Ears not pigmented. Skull not strongly developed, supraorbital ridges not heavy. Nasal tapering and narrow, "bottle shaped" posteriorly. Interparietal shallow and broad. Bulla extending posteriorly beyond paroccipital. Adult head and body length average 107 mm.; tail 137 mm., 129 per cent of head and body length; hind foot 34 mm.; ear 16 mm.; occipitonasal length 32.3 mm.; weight 36.3 g. Dorsal colour pale yellowish orange to light reddish orange with no dorsal stripe, but dark-tipped hairs on rump. Hairs of dorsum and part of side have gray bases. Underparts, feet, and under side of tail white. Mystacial and suborbital areas without pigmented hairs. Postorbital and postauricular spots and rump patch white, conspicuous. Dorsal tail colour as back, Lacking brownish tipped hairs; brush about one-third of tail length, fuscous. Glans penis and baculum not observed.

VARIATION - Colour varies from pale yellowish orange in the wadi el Natroun area to light reddish orange in El Maghra.

HABITATS - Idku: Coastal sand dunes. Western Mediterranean Coastal Desert: Coastal dunes of white, nummilitic sand; sandy areas in stands of Thymelaea hirsuta and Artemisia monosperma in the southern limits of vegetation. Wadi el Natroun: Lake shore areas of mud and salty sand supporting Typha sp. and Desmostachya bipinnata; almost barren sand slopes with dry, ephemeral Mesembryanthemum sp.; soft sand sheets supporting stands of Pnicum turgidum; dunes under exotic Prosopis juliflora; sandy slopes near clover fields, but not within the fields. Bir Victoria: Sand sheets and meanders with dominats of Artemisia monosperma, Panicum turgidum, and Pityranthus tortuosa. El Magra: Sand mounds around Nitraria retusa and Zygophyllum album, barren sand and gravel slopes, and 15 km. W in soft sand in scattered Acasia raddiana.

REPRODUCTION - One record of five fetuses in April.

FOOD - ??

REFERENCE: Osborn, D, J., and I. Helmy. 1980. The contemporary land mammals of Egypt (including Sinai). Fieldiana Zool., no. 5.

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Last updated 22 November 2013