The gerbil lives in many regions of Asia, more precisely in the regions of Mongolia, south Siberia, north China, Manchuria and Sin-Kiang. Its natural environment is composed of semi-arid plains and steppes. In this semi-desert environment, the temperature can vary between -40°c (-40°f) at night and 50°c (122°f) in the day.


At the beginning

The first one to speak about the gerbil is a French missionary named Armand David in 1866. He described the gerbils as little yellow rats and makes some drawings of them. He even sent some specimens in France at the Musée d'histoire naturelle in Paris. It is in this establishment that the scientific, Milne-Edwards officially named it Meriones unguiculatus in 1867. Meriones is the name of a warrior in Greek Mythology who worn a helmet decorated with wild boar tooth to honour its victories. Unguiculatus means in Latin, "with claws". So we can translate Meriones unguiculatus, small-clawed warrior! 


In reaserch

In 1935, near the river Amour in Mongolia and Manchuria, the Dr Kazuga captured twenty gerbil pairs and brought them back at the Institute Kitasato in Berlin to be used in research. In 1954, the Dr Schwentker imported 11 pairs from this institute in the United States. After a while in using them in research, some laboratory employees decided to keep some of them as pets. From that point, gerbils became more and more popular in petshop. Also, the majority of the gerbils found in petshops now all over the world come from those first captured gerbils in 1935. 


Usage in research (in the passed years and still today.)




-Bacteriologic and viral infections




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