This week I will be talking about the Long Eared Jerboa. Can you guess where it got its name? If you look closely, you can see the Jerboa has disproportionally large ears, which is what they are known for. Their ears are 2/3 larger than the size of their heads and have the largest ear:body ratio. These animals use their large ears to help capture insects. The Jerboa uses sound to locate insects in the air, and then use their powerful hind legs to leap in the air and catch their prey. As obvious as their large ears are, their tails are even more disproportional. The tail of a Jerboa is twice as long as its body; however, scientists haven’t found any evolutionary advantage of having a longer tail.
These organisms are usually found in Asian countries such as Mongolia and China. More specifically, they live in desert areas. What makes this species exceptional is that they leave in such harsh environments. During the day the temperature can reach over 100 degrees, and the temperature drops to around -40 degrees at night. The Jerboa is also nocturnal, which is why their ears are so beneficial. Because they cannot see at night, they use their sense of hearing as a substitute.
Unfortunately, the Jerboa is at risk for extinction. There numbers were dwindling because there were no conservation methods in place to protect them. Since 2007, the EDGE project put them as one of the top 10 species they will focus on. Because of this, they have been receiving more attention. For example, the Jerboa was in the book 100 Animals to See Before They’re Gone.
As cool as these guys are, there aren’t many of them around. But hopefully they will make a comeback in the future. Until then, you will probably only be able to see this Mickey Mouse – like animal in pictures.