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Gundi - Ctenodactylus gundi

Also commonly known as North African Gundi, these cute rodents found in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, are scientifically named Ctenodactylus gundi (Rodentia - Ctenodactylidae).

Gundis range in size from 16-20cm for its head body length. They have a tiny tail (a mere whisp of hairs that is about 10 to 20mm long), 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. They have compact bodies, resembling guinea pigs in external appearance.

Despite how cute they seem, must be said that the protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, which has a worldwide distribution and is one of the most frequent parasitic infections, was first described in the Gundi; and also it is a reservoir hosts of Leishmania species involved in cutaneous leishmaniasis in Tunisia.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credits: [Top: ©Ellen van Yperen | Locality: captive - Apenheul Zoo, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, 2008] - [Bottom: ©Volker Wurst | Locality: captive - Wilhelma Zoological-Botanical Garden, Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, 2008]

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