It doesn’t take a genius to guess its country of origin but given that the Mongolian Gerbil is one of the world’s most beloved pets, this oval-eared rodent can be found in homes and pet shops everywhere.
They may look cute to us, but the Mongolian gerbil’s scientific name (Meriones unguiculatus) actually means ‘small-clawed warrior’. Although they don’t pose a threat to any other prey animals, these warriors hone their fighting skills by boxing and wrestling each other. Grooming often happens at the same time, allowing gerbils to remain parasite-free and battle-ready for later life. The tail of the Mongolian gerbil can be used to warn family members of danger, but can also be shed if it gets stuck so the gerbil can escape quickly.