Allactaga elatersmall five-toed jerboa

Geographic Range

Allactaga elater is most commonly found in eastern Asia Minor and the lower Volga River to Sinkiang and western Pakistan.

(van Veen, 1998)


Allactaga elater occupy desert regions.

(van Veen, 1998)

Physical Description

Allactaga elater is commonly known as a small, five-toed jerboa. This jumping rodent has short front legs and long hind limbs. The hind limbs are usually four times as long as the front limbs and measure up to 10 cm. in length. Its body averages 15 cm. from head to tail. Allactaga elater is a sandy color on top and a whiter color underneath. The tip of the tail is usually black. Hair is also found under its feet to provide better traction in the sandy environments where it lives.

(Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, 1986)

  • Average mass
    58.7 g
    2.07 oz


Females give birth twice each year. The young are born in an average litter size of three. The gestation period for these small rodents is short, ranging from twenty days to four weeks, although the actual time is not known. After birth, the mother stays with her young for several months to protect and teach them until they are old enough to fend for themselves in the wild. The young reach sexual maturity in six weeks.

(Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, 1986; Britannica, 1999; Wood, 1998)

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
  • sexual
  • Average number of offspring
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
    Sex: female
    142 days
  • Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
    Sex: male
    142 days


  • Average lifespan
    Status: captivity
    5.2 years


Allactaga elater typically travels on its hind legs. They use their tails to prop themselves up and for balance when jumping. They are able to cover up to 3 meters in a single bound. They are nocturnal rodents and are normally solitary. They burrow into the ground during the day and emerge at night to find food. This species does not hibernate during the winter because of the mild climate it inhabits.

(Britannica, 1999)

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

Allactaga elater obtains its food by burrowing in the sand or soil. They generally feed on seeds, insects and the succulent parts of plants. They do not require free water in nature or captivity because they obtain suffient amounts in their food.

(Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, 1986)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Allactaga elater is used for its fur. They are poached by humans and their fur is used to make clothing and other fashionable objects.

(Curtin, 1998)

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Allactaga elater carries and transmits disease. However, because of the arid, unpopulated region they inhabit, the danger isn't as prevalent as coming in contact with rodents in more highly populated areas of the world.

(Curtin, 1998)

Conservation Status


Cortney Closey (author), Milford High School, George Campbell (editor), Milford High School.



living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

desert or dunes

in deserts low (less than 30 cm per year) and unpredictable rainfall results in landscapes dominated by plants and animals adapted to aridity. Vegetation is typically sparse, though spectacular blooms may occur following rain. Deserts can be cold or warm and daily temperates typically fluctuate. In dune areas vegetation is also sparse and conditions are dry. This is because sand does not hold water well so little is available to plants. In dunes near seas and oceans this is compounded by the influence of salt in the air and soil. Salt limits the ability of plants to take up water through their roots.


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


uses touch to communicate


Bram, L., N. Dickey. 1986. Jerboa. Pp. 28 in Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia Vol. 15 Jaspers-Lavoisier. Funk and Wagnalls Corporation.

Curtin, C., A. Wood. 1998. Accessed December 31, 2000 at

Encyclopedia Britannica, 1999. "Jerboa" (On-line). Accessed December 31, 2000 at,5716,44528+1+43539,00.html?query=jerboa.

van Veen, K. 1998. "Desert Jerboas (Dipodidae)" (On-line). Accessed November 5, 2000 at