The Jerboa, or Mouse
weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind." Whether the Jerboa is the
same animal or not, the Israelites must have been well acquainted with it, for it is
found in great numbers in Syria and Egypt, and other countries mentioned in the Bible.
They like to live where the soil is sandy, and make their burrows, or holes to live in, in
the sides of sand-hills. These burrows are often several yards long, and the part where
they sleep is made soft with grass.
The Jerboa is about as large as a rat, and its color is a tawny yellow, something like
and its head is much like that of a young rabbit. When it eats, it sits and hold its food
in its fore-paws, very much as a squirrel does.
There is a very great and curious difference in the length of its legs; those in front
being so short that you would hardly notice them, and those behind very long. It
bounds along over the ground very rapidly; so that the greyhound, which is one of the
swiftest of dogs, is often unable to overtake it. It seems, when you first look at it, to
use only its hind legs in jumping, but his is not so. When it is about to take a leap, it
raises its body upon the toes of its hind feet, keeping the balance by the help of its
long tail. It springs and comes down on its short fore legs, but does it so very quickly
that you can hardly see how it is done, and the animal seems to be upright all the
time.
They appear to be very fond of each other's company, and great numbers are usually
found together. They sleep during the day, but like the hare and rabbit, go out of their
burrows to eat and to play as soon as it begins to be dark