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
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 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