The North African gundi is found in deserts with arid rock outcrops. Its habitat may also include a rocky slope on a hill or mountain Macdonald, ; Walker, The North African gundi ranges in size from cm for its head body length. It has a tiny tail, a mere whisp of hairs that is about 10 to 20mm long. Gundis have very short legs, flat ears, big eyes, and long whiskers.
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The North African gundi is found in deserts with arid rock outcrops. Its habitat may also include a rocky slope on a hill or mountain Macdonald, ; Walker, The North African gundi ranges in size from cm for its head body length. It has a tiny tail, a mere whisp of hairs that is about 10 to 20mm long.
Gundis have very short legs, flat ears, big eyes, and long whiskers. It has been said that when seen crouched on a rock in the sun with the wind blowing through their fur, they look like powder puffs Macdonald, They have compact bodies, resembling guinea pigs in external appearance.
Each of their feet has four digits, the two inner digits of the hind foot have comblike bristles that stand out against their dark claws. The claws are not enlarged but are very sharp Walker, The skull of the North African gundi is broad posteriorly. It has a straight palate.
Female gundis have a gestation period of forty days. The mother has four nipples, two on her flanks and two on her chest. She usually has a litter size of two. The babies are born fully furred and with their eyes open. The young have few opportunities to suckle as they are weaned on chewed leaves starting with their mother's first foraging expedition after birth.
They are fully weaned after four weeks. Weaning probably occurs so soon after birth because the mother has little milk to spare in the dry heat of the desert Macdonald, Gundis are gregarious. They live in colonies varying in density depending on the food supply and the terrain. Within colonies family territories are occupied by a male, female, and juvenile or by several females and offspring.
Gundis make their homes in the shelter of rock outcroppings. These are usually temporary. Characteristically, a shelter retains the day's heat through a cold night and stays cool during a hot day.
In the winter, gundis pile on top of each other to stay warm. The juveniles are protected from the crush by their mothers or are wrapped in the soft fur at the back of her neck Macdonald, Long distance foraging generates body heat, which can be dangerous on a hot desert day.
Therefore, gundis display behavior characteristics much resembling those of lizards. After a quick feed, they flatten themselves again on the warm rocks.
Thus they make use of the sun to keep their bodies warm and to speed digestion. Gundis communicate by making a chirping sound. In the dry desert air and the rocky terrain their low-pitched alert calls carry well. They also thump with their hind feet when alarmed. After hearing a warning, gundis scurry under the rocks and out of harm's way. In fact, gundis are able to flatten their ribs in order to squeeze into a crack in the rocks Macdonald, ; Walker, On sloping surfaces, the North African gundi presses its body against the wall and uses the slightest irregularities in the obstruction to ascend almost perpendicularly Walker, Another common characteristic of gundis is that they rapidly scratch their rump in a circular motion with the combed instep on their feet Macdonald, The diet of C.
Leaves, stalks, flowers, and the seeds of almost any desert plant including grass and acacia are used as sustenance Macdonald, Typically, gundis forage over long distances due to the scarcity of food available in their desert habitats.
They may forage up to 1 kilometer. Their home range size varies from a few square meters to 3 square kilometers 1. Regular foraging is essential because gundis do not store food. When long foraging expeditions are necessary gundis alternate feeding in the sun and cooling off in the shade.
In extreme drought gundis eat at dawn when plants contain the most moisture. Interestingly, gundis do not drink. They get most of their water intake from the plants they eat Macdonald, ; Walker, Their kidneys have long tubules for absorbing water and their urine can be concentrated if plants dry out completely.
However, this is an emergency response and can only be sustained for a limited time period Macdonald, Another interesting fact about their foraging foraging is that while most rodents are good gnawers, gundis are not because they lack the hard orange enamel on the outer surfaces of their incisors Macdonald, In the midth century the explorer John Speke shot gundis in the coastal hills of Somalia. It is not known if this was done for sport or for food, but potentially gundis could be used as both Macdonald, It is known that some Arabian tribes hunt gundis for food during the twilight hours Walker, North African gundis could potentially be destructive to crops, gardens and such where their ranges overlap with human habitation.
In , two French doctors isolated a protozoan parasite now known to occur in almost every mammal, in the spleen of a North African gundi. They called it Toxoplasma gondii Macdonald, Twilight, in the common speech of the Arabians whom inhabit this region, is called "the hour when the gundi comes out" Walker, Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends.
Synapomorphy of the Bilateria. 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.
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. Macdonald, D. The encyclopedia of mammals. New York: Facts on File Publications. Walker, E. Mammals of the world. Help us improve the site by taking our survey.
To cite this page: Leu, H. Disclaimer: The Animal Diversity Web is an educational resource written largely by and for college students. ADW doesn't cover all species in the world, nor does it include all the latest scientific information about organisms we describe. Though we edit our accounts for accuracy, we cannot guarantee all information in those accounts. While ADW staff and contributors provide references to books and websites that we believe are reputable, we cannot necessarily endorse the contents of references beyond our control.
Ctenodactylus gundi gundi Facebook. Biogeographic Regions ethiopian native Habitat The North African gundi is found in deserts with arid rock outcrops. Terrestrial Biomes desert or dune Physical Description The North African gundi ranges in size from cm for its head body length. Other Physical Features endothermic bilateral symmetry Range mass to g 6. Economic Importance for Humans: Negative North African gundis could potentially be destructive to crops, gardens and such where their ranges overlap with human habitation.
Conservation Status This species is not on the endangered species list. Glossary Ethiopian living in sub-Saharan Africa south of 30 degrees north and Madagascar. Read more Connect with us Help us improve the site by taking our survey. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Classification Kingdom Animalia animals Animalia: information 1 Animalia: pictures Animalia: specimens Animalia: sounds Animalia: maps Chordata: information 1 Chordata: pictures Chordata: specimens Chordata: sounds Vertebrata: information 1 Vertebrata: pictures Vertebrata: specimens Vertebrata: sounds Mammalia: information 1 Mammalia: pictures Mammalia: specimens Mammalia: sounds Rodentia: information 1 Rodentia: pictures Rodentia: specimens Rodentia: sounds 2.
Ctenodactylidae: information 1 Ctenodactylidae: pictures 3 Ctenodactylidae: specimens 8. Ctenodactylus: pictures 1 Ctenodactylus: specimens 8. Ctenodactylus gundi: information 1 Ctenodactylus gundi: specimens 8.
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The common gundi Ctenodactylus gundi is a species of rodent in the family Ctenodactylidae. It is found in Algeria , Libya , Morocco , and Tunisia. The parasitic organism Toxoplasma gondii was first described in in Tunis by Charles Nicolle and Louis Manceaux within the tissues of the gundi. It resembles a guinea pig in appearance, having big eyes, flat ears and short limbs. Each foot has four digits and sharp, dark claws; the two hind feet have comblike bristles between the claws. Gundi's teeth are rootless.
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