How Many Types Of Gerbils Are There In The World?

While you may only see a limited number of gerbil species in pet stores today, there are actually around 100 different species of gerbils in the entire world.

The reason we don’t see many is because only two kinds of gerbils are typically kept as pets.

These include the:

  • Fat-Tailed Gerbil
  • Mongolian Gerbil

Below, we’ll cover these as well as a section of the other gerbil species you’ll find throughout the world.


Types Of Gerbils In The World

Fat-Tailed Gerbils

Fat-tailed gerbil

Fat-tailed gerbil
P.H.J. (Peter) Maas
, licence CC 2.5

Fat-tailed gerbils are a great choice for those who want a small pet with a lifespan that is a little bit longer than mice or hamsters.
They live to be anywhere from five to seven years old, and typically reach almost 4 inches long without the addition of their tail.
It’s worth keeping in mind that this species may not be as easy to find as Mongolian gerbils, but they can be much more docile.
Additionally, these gerbils are set apart by their short, fat tails. Typically, gerbils are known to have very long tails, but these little guys have tails that are quite unique.


Mongolian Gerbils

Mongolian gerbil
Alastair Rae
, licence CC 2.0

Mongolian gerbils are the type you’re most likely to find when you walk into your local pet store.
They are a little bit larger than fat-tailed gerbils, measuring up to five and a half inches, not including their tail.
That said, they do live shorter lifespans at around three to five years.
Furthermore, there are gerbils that come in a wide variety of colors. Keep in mind that regardless of color, each will have a similar temperament.
While you’re looking for the ideal gerbil to keep as a pet, it’s best to make sure the one you choose is healthy and well socialized.


North African Gerbil

North African gerbil

North African gerbil, source: World Life Expectancy

The North African gerbil is one that exists throughout several regions in North Africa, including Egypt, Mali, Algeria and more.
These critters are typically nocturnal, seeking out food in the safety of the darkness.
Like many other rodents, they are also known for burrowing and creating homes under the ground.




Cheesman’s Gerbil

Cheesman’s gerbil
Shah Jahan
, licence CC 3.0

The Cheesman’s Gerbil is an especially adorable member of the species, with a white underbelly and toasted orange coloring on its back.
These little guys live primarily in the Middle East, and can reach up to about 4.3 inches in length, not including the tail.
Like the North African gerbil, they tend to be nocturnal and get most of their exercise in at night.



Balochistan Gerbil

Balochistan gerbil (Dwarf gerbil), source: World Life Expectancy

A larger member of the gerbil species is the Balochistan gerbil, which can also be known as the dwarf gerbil.
These gerbils can reach over 9 inches in length, without the addition of their tail.
Native to Asia, Arabia and Africa, these creatures have little trouble existing in environments that are a little more dry.
That said, within those regions they do tend to prefer the spaces that have a little more vegetation.


Berbera Gerbil

The Berbera gerbil exists in the Horn Of Africa, though it isn’t one that people run into often.
Because of this, there isn’t a great deal of information on the status of the species.
However, we do know that they reach up to 3.7 inches in length, with a tail nearly twice as long.
These gerbils are also known to have orange coloring, with silvery tips to each hair shaft.

Anderson’s Gerbil

These critters are known to exist in sandy areas, typically enjoying the dunes that can be found in coastal areas around Israel and Tunisia.
What sets these little guys apart from other gerbils is that they have exceptionally large ears, and their coloring is often darker than other kinds of gerbils out there.
Like other gerbil species, these ones are known to burrow and may be considered to be somewhat nomadic.


Flower’s Gerbil

Flower’s gerbils largely come from Egypt, and they are a species that has become quite rare in the wild.
These critters tend to enjoy coastal plains, rocky deserts and grass valleys.
Reaching up to around 8 inches in length, the size of these gerbils is what sets them apart from many others.

Pale Gerbils

Pale gerbil
, licence CC 3.0

The pale gerbil is an adorable creature with a lighter coloring than many others out there.
Like a few other species, they largely exist in Egypt, mainly in the northwestern regions.
Also known as a pallid gerbil, these little guys have orange coloring and a white underbelly. They also have fur-covered feet, which is helpful for gerbils who spend a lot of time in the sand.

Tarabul’s Gerbil

Tarabul’s gerbil is a small variety, coming in at about 4 inches in length.
They typically live in Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal and a few other locations.
Like some other varieties, they prefer coastal steppes and sandy desert habitats.
These nocturnal critters create burrows that are complicated, but rather shallow.

Botta’s Gerbil

This is a gerbil that is typically found in Sudan, though it may show up in some other nearby locations as well.
Discovered in 1882, Botta’s gerbil is one of the smaller varieties of gerbil out there.
They are also marked by sandy brown coloring with white limbs and a white stomach.
Furthermore, their unique tails portray a tuft of fur at the end.

Persian Jird

The Persian jird is a cousin to the gerbils we know, living in areas like Armenia, Iraq and Turkey.
These critters can reach about 6 inches long and, like many gerbil species, it has a tail that is typically longer than the body, tipped with a small tuft of fur.
In rare cases, people may keep the Persian jird as a pet but they require much more in the way of care and cage space than gerbils typically considered to be good options as pets.

Fat Sand Rat

Another cousin to the gerbil’s we are familiar with is the fat sand rat.
When we take a look at these critters, we might think they appear much more similar to something like a gopher or groundhog.
However, they are a member of the gerbil subfamily.

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