Pygmy Jerboa is a Cute Harmless Alien

More specifically, this particular dinosaur-like peculiarity of a rodent is a Baluchistan Pygmy Jerboa (Salpingotulus michaelis). They're indigenous to an area of about 5000 sq/mi in northwest Pakistan, though they might also exist in Afghanistan. Beyond what has been gleaned in the field, not much is really known about them according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the most widely-accepted scientific authority of its type. They're sure it's vulnerable to some threat, but, humorously, there's not enough data to say what it is with certainty. What facts there are paint the picture in my mind of a jumpy-hamsterlike society that is just darling.
It is a nocturnal, loosely colonial [aww], gregarious [d'awwww...], herbivorous [eating little leaves, aww...] species occuring in rolling sand dunes or barren flat gravel and sandy plains in hot deserts.
[Molur et. al, 2005, a zoologists' report: "Status of South Asian Non-volant Small Mammals", p 192]
In fact, here's the full write up of the little guy from page 192... [Click to Enlarge]
The thing is, even though they're classified only as "vulnerable" rather than "endangered" or even "critically endangered", they're still not pets. They'll need to be monitored closely in their habitat, which means that everyone's curiosity about mail ordering one is, at this point, misspent. Perhaps we'll be successful at keeping them around, and one day you can have one hopping all over your keyboard, making what I imagine are little gibbery-scriggly noises.

I wonder if this is a researcher who filmed this nugget of internet goodness. Perhaps that explains the decision to weigh the little bugger. Or maybe it's just that it's so lightAs somebody in the comments section of That Cute Site: "He almost weighs an eighth!" Just about. :)

Related: Info on IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species

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