A “jumping mouse” or dwarf three- toed jerboa, which is regarded as the smallest rodent in the world, has been found in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Chen Wenjie, a bird lover, discovered the jerboa when driving on a village road in Hotan Prefecture.
Under the car lamp, the hopping “mouse” with pig-like face and a body little larger than a cap of bottled water, stopped in front of Chen’s car.
Its weight equals to one yuan coin, Chen said.
Out of curiosity, he put it into an empty bottle and brought it back home.
“It’s a sleepy creature and only comes out of the bottle at night. In an extreme case, it slept for around 17 hours in one day, wrapping its long tail around its neck and ignoring all noises,” Chen was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.
Jiang Wei, researcher with the center for disease control and prevention in Xinjiang, identified that it’s not a mouse but a dwarf three-towed jerboa, a species of rodent which usually appears in the deserts of southern Xinjiang.
Jiang said the jerboa moves over its dry desert habitat by long hops.
Its tail is two times its body length.
It’s too small to store fat, so it stores additional fat in the tail.
The life span of the curious jerboa is only around two years.
They have only three or four offspring each year, with the newborns the size of a peanut kernel, said Jiang.
They usually live in China’s Xinjiang, Gansu and Inner Mongolia as well as foreign countries including Kazakhstan.
Chen Wenjie still likes to call it a “jumping mouse”.
He said that he has since released the creature.