The Indian Desert Jird, one of my favourite rodents

It’s not a bird, it’s a jird

Good morning, 2015. It feels like a fine time for burrowing in the past, shucking out the dirt and ruminating on the future. Nothing like a little video to set the tone.

On a winter morning in Jaisalmer, I was cycling around the grounds of the magnificent hotel Suryagarh and watching birds when I came upon a series of burrows in the ground. The holes were large and evenly spaced, usually in the shade of a shrub and surrounded by tussocks of straw-dry grass. And that’s where I found this adorable colony of jirds, who allowed me to film them quietly, one leg resting on the bicycle (so excuse the shakes, please).

The Indian Desert Jird is a fossorial (burrow-making) rodent that, in appearance, is equal parts squirrel and rat. But those endearing eyes quickly dismiss any fear one might have of rats. Here, in Rajasthan, I gathered rodents are not treated with fear. After all, as the raven flies, Jaisalmer is not far from the rodent-worshipping Karni Mata temple near Bikaner.

Happy 2015! Dig deep into your past to find the key to the future.

Also see our Encounter post on the Indian Desert Jird 

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