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The Shaw's Jird (Meriones shawi) is about the same size as a Rat and looks like a giant version of the Mongolian Gerbil. They both belong to the same branch of the Gerbil family, the Jirds. The Mongolian Gerbil is in fact not a true Gerbil at all but a Jird. Its proper name is the Clawed Jird (Meriones unguiculatus).
The Shaw's Jird originates from the arid areas of North Africa and the Middle East. It has been used extensively in research laboratories but has only relatively recently been kept as a pet. Up to about 10 years ago, a similar species, the Libyan Jird, was kept as a pet but the Shaw's Jird has been found to be friendlier and makes a better pet.
Shaw's Jirds make wonderful pets. They have the same innate friendliness and natural curiosity as their Mongolian cousins. They rarely bite and enjoy being handled. Being that much bigger, they are easier to handle and they are also extremely intelligent.
Requirements are similar to the Mongolian's. A 30 inch aquarium provides adequate accommodation for a pair. Thick cardboard tubes and a wooden house to furnish the cage and they love an exercise wheel!
The basic diet of the Shaw's Jird is a mixture of seeds and grains. However, they are more omnivorous and relish variety, they enjoy all types of fruit and vegetables. They also need a small amount of meat. They love mealworms and crickets.
If you just want to keep Shaw's Jird as pets and do not wish to breed from them, then you should choose either two males or a SINGLE female.
A pair of males will live happily together and appear to become very attached to their partners. Females, on the other hand, are much more aggressive towards other Jirds. (They are fine with people.) If they have been introduced at an early age, two females may live together amicably for a while but they are likely to start to fight as they get older. Unfortunately, the same is true of a mixed sex pair and this makes breeding Shaw's Jird very difficult.£18.00
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