'Mickey Mouse of the Desert'

Scientists film endangered critter for the first time
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2007 6:10 PM CST

A rare rodent with jumbo ears and a kangaroo hop has been nabbed on video for possibly the first time, the BBC reports. Scientists who braved the Gobi desert recently observed the jerboa as part of a plan to help the endangered and extremely rare mammal. The critter amazed them with its snow-shoe like feet and "one of the biggest ear-to-body ratios out there," as one scientist put it.

"The long-eared jerboa is a bit like the Mickey Mouse of the desert, cute and comic in equal measure," he added—but the jumpy creature is already threatened by a disturbance to its habitat. It is one of 10 species that the Zoological Society of London plans to help this year, even if it means trekking through deserts, regions that one scientist said “are overlooked” in conservation planning. (Read more jerboa stories.)

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