Gundi (Ctenodactylus gundi)

               

Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family:    Ctenodactylidae
Size:    Length: 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm)
Weight: 6 to 7 ounces (170 to 198 g)
Diet: Leaves, flowers, seeds and grass
Distribution: Northern Africa
Young:  2 to 3, once per year
Animal Predators:  Cats, dogs, birds, jackals and snakes
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: No special terms
Lifespan: 2 to 4 years

 

Facts/Trivia:

       When lying on a rock sunbathing, gundis resemble powder puffs.

       Gundis have rootless cheek teeth that keep growing throughout their lives.

       They are not good gnawers, lacking the hard outer tooth enamel that most other rodents have.

Description

Gundis have a compact body that resembles that of guinea pigs. They also have short legs, big eyes and are usually tan in colour. They have four toes on each foot and they groom themselves with the bristles growing on their inner hind toes. The soles of their feet have no fur, but have thick padding that enables them to withstand the heat.

 

Habitat

Gundis can be found in southeastern Morocco, Northern Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, the central Sahara Desert, northern Niger, northwestern Chad, northeastern Mali, southwestern Libya, and the deserts and mountains of Ethiopia beside the Red Sea. Gundis have home ranges that can be anywhere from a few square metres to three square kilometres (1.2 square miles), depending on the abundance of food.They inhabit dry, rocky areas and they love to sunbathe by lying flat on their stomach on a rock.

 

Feeding Habits

A typical day is spent sunbathing in the early morning until the temperature gets too hot, then they feed, following by more sunbathing while they digest their morning meal. In the early part of the afternoon they rest in the shade and when it cools down later in the afternoon, gundis come out to feed again. They do not need to drink, getting enough water from the moisture in the plants they eat.

 

Reproduction

Litters usually consist of two young (sometimes three) born fully furred with their eyes open, after a gestation period of 40 days. Because gundis rarely drink, mothers have a limited quantity of milk and begin to feed chewed leaves to their offspring as early as possible. Within four to six weeks the young are fully weaned and they reach adult size by the age of four months, but do not reproduce until they are at least eight to 12 months old. 

 

Behaviour

There are five species of gundi living in various areas of northern Africa. The smallest is the desert gundi of western Algeria. Gundis live in family colonies usually consisting of a mother, father and various ages of juveniles.  They suffer in cold weather and will snuggle together to keep warm when the temperature drops below 50F (10C). Gundis communicate with chirps and whistles. When they sense danger, they thump their hind feet to warn the others and then disappear into a rock crevice to escape.

 

Conservation

The current gundi population is not considered a conservation concern at this time.

 

Sources

http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/ctenodactylus/c._gundi$narrative.html

http://www.manntaylor.com/gundi.html

http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/walker/rodentia.ctenodactylidae.ctenodactylus.html

Gundi Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US