Life span: Average 4-6 years.
Size: Mouse-sized, 10cm body with 8cm tail.
Origin: North African and central Asian deserts.
Status: Captive bred since 1960's.
Diet: Omnivore. Commercial gerbil mix containing seeds, nuts and pellets, fresh fruits, vegetables, and hay.
Pros: Sociable. Seldom bite. Very active, curious and adventurous both day and night. Very clean.
Cons: Require a habitat that allows for ample daily exercise. Small, fast moving animals that don't often like to be handled. Tend to nibble on fingers. Can be easily hurt if squeezed. Easy to lose if they escape from habitat.
Comments: Best kept in pairs of same sex from birth. Adapt best when raised in a social environment. Must have items to chew to wear down constantly growing teeth. Habitat requires plenty of room and nest building material as well as a medium for burrowing (see Building a Better Habitat). Require warm, dry environment with a temperature range of 20-23oC.
Suitability in a classroom: Fairly good if they are observed in their habitat rather than handled if outlined conditions are adhered to.