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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Jerboa \Jer*bo"a\, n. [Ar. yarb[=u]`.] (Zo["o]l.) Any small jumping rodent of the genus Dipus, esp. Dipus [AE]gyptius, which is common in Egypt and the adjacent countries. The jerboas have very long hind legs and a long tail. [Written also gerboa.]

Note: The name is also applied to other small jumping rodents, as the Pedetes Caffer, of the Cape of Good Hope.

Jerboa kangaroo (Zo["o]l.), small Australian kangaroo ( Bettongia penicillata), about the size of a common hare.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

small desert rodent, 1660s, Modern Latin, from Arabic jarbu "flesh of the loins," also the name of a small jumping rodent of North Africa. Compare gerbil.


n. Any of a number of species comprising most of the family Dipodidae, native to the deserts of Asia and northern Africa, being a small, jumping rodent with a long tufted tail, very small forefoot and very long hind legs.


n. mouselike jumping rodent


The jerboa (from ) forms the bulk of the membership of the family Dipodidae. Jerboas are hopping desert rodents found throughout Northern Africa and Asia east to northern China and Manchuria. They tend to live in hot deserts.

When chased, jerboas can run at up to 24 kilometres per hour. Some species are preyed on by little owls (Athene noctua) in central Asia. Most species of jerboa have excellent hearing that they use to avoid becoming the prey of nocturnal predators. The typical lifespan of a jerboa is around six years.

Usage examples of "jerboa".

Ayla laughed at his look of startled surprise when a thick-tailed jerboa, with short forelegs, and three toes on its long hind legs, bounded away in jumps and dived into the burrow in which it had hibernated all winter.

I pass in silence the two large families which include the jerboa, the chinchilla, the biscacha, and the tushkan, or underground hare of South Russia, though all these small rodents might be taken as excellent illustrations of the pleasures derived by animals from social life.

The jerboa belle was still clad in a lacy pink nightdress which had been torn in several places.

He glanced up to see Carina hopping and leaping madly, like a jerboa, while the Harnish shaman darted in zigzags and circles like a stoat while beating on the skin drum.

Within these prisons moved all sorts of living creatures, from the jerboa, the lizard of the Nile, and a light-colored species of owl, to numerous specimens of frogs, snakes, scorpions and beetles.

Hares, giant hamsters, and great jerboas were large enough for a meal, and tasty when skinned and skewered over an evening fire.

Squirrels, Marmots, Jerboas, Mole-Rats, Rats, Mice, Voles, Porcupines, and Hares.

No sign of its existence appears from above the surface of the earth, but if an enemy invades the burrow, away the jerboas rush for this secret exit and break through to the surface out of reach of the trouble, and escape.

The jerboas or jumping mice are not only skilled athletes in the art of jumping, but they are gifted food conservers and producers as well.

No living creature moved on the dumb, swooning earth, but tiny jerboas scuttling through the parched bushes, or lizards vanishing in the clefts of the rock.

Jedit subsisted on jerboas, a big-eared fox, a dead vulture, a hyena, a covey of hedgehogs, dead sheep, snakes, and any other creature that crossed his path.

As the sprouting herbs and grasses tempted burrowing ground squirrels, giant hamsters, great jerboas, rabbits, and hares from winter nests, Ayla started wearing her sling again, tucked into the thong that held her fur wrap closed.

Steppe pikes, souslik marmots, great jerboas, varying hares -- gray brown now instead of winter white -- and an occasional, omnivorous, mouse-hunting giant hamster abounded on the plains.

She had occasionally gone out with her sling, and he had not questioned where the jerboas, hares, and giant hamsters came from.

The men were standing near the tusks trying to decide if they wanted to hunt jerboas with their slings.