Thursday, July 14, 2011

Desert Dormouse

Selvinia betpakdalaensis
The Desert Dormouse is a tiny little nocturnal rodent found exclusively in the country of Kazakhstan. They are stocky and round bodied, and are actually the only species found within their genus.

Though they are rodents, Dormice are not actually mice. They belong to a completely different family, one that dates back nearly 45 million years!

Desert Dormice are unique among Dormice because when they molt, they actually molt off their upper layer of skin! When the skin falls off, new skin and hair, which was growing underneath the top layer, is ready to go.

The Desert Dormouse was one listed as endangered by the IUCN, but due to their small size and rarity, there is not enough data for them to be correctly ranked. They are, in fact, so hard to find that the only image I was able to dig up for them was on a postage stamp!

IUCN Status : Data Deficient
Location : Kazakhstan
Size : Body Length up to 3.5in (9cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Rodentia
Family : Gliridae -- Genus : Selevinia -- Species : S. betpakdalaensis

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