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Natural UAE

Jirds

The largest rodents in the UAE are the jirds. They are represented by two species that are very difficult to separate from each other, the Libyan jird (Meriones libycus) and Sundevall's jird (Meriones crassus). They are both heavily built, greyish-brown in colour with a black tuft at the tip of the tail. The head is quite broad and has features similar to those of a hamster. The only visible difference between the two animals are the claws. The Libyan jird's claws are dark to black, whilst the Sundevall's jird's claws are of ivory colour. This of course can only be detected if the animals are handled. They favour the same habitat, desert with shrubs and small bushes, and appear to be absent from the mountains.

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