Saturday, March 24, 2012

Speculative Zoology #8: Jerboa

Climate change lead to extensive flooding, and the three toed jerboa of Mongolia and China found its semi-arid home washed away and replaced with wetlands. Luckily, this little rodent was swift to adapt. The web-footed aquatic jerboa, referred to colloquially as the jerbrog, fills the niche of frogs - an entire Order that had vanished from the face of the earth.

His diet is now almost entirely insects and their larvae, although he also supplements this with roots and berries and the occasional small fish. His fur has become dense and waterproof, it traps the air and keeps him buoyant so that he can often be seen floating on the surface of the water, just his bulging eyes and ears visible. He propels himself along with his webbed feet and uses his long tail like a rudder to make quick turns.

When on land he can frequently be found grooming in the sun, ever watchful for predatory birds.

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