Hmmmm. I try not to have any books in my office and for this one time in my life what I attempted and reality is close to the same. I do have one, though. My mother just gave it to my son. Unfortunately, it is a coffee table book and contains beautiful photographs of the Sahara for the most part. There is no writing on page 123, but on page 124 I took this excerpt:
The presence of vegetation, even if sparse and scattered, is an essential condition for the survival of animals. However, endemic Sahara species are rare: no sedentary birds and only three of the sixty-five mammal species are endemic (the fennec, the gerbil, and the addax antelope), along with six reptiles and about a dozen insect species.
From Sahara by Paolo Novaresio and Gianni Guadalupi
I always assumed gerbils came from a pet store. I never thought about them being a native species of anywhere, much less the completely harsh environs of the Sahara.
I once had a roommate with a gerbil. This annoying, squeaky wheel turning, escape artist made my life miserable for an entire summer until I ousted both the roommate and the gerbil at the convenient semester beginning purge. I was ever so thankful. Call me crazy, but I just don't like rodents, even if they are supposed to be cute, crawling on me in the night. I can see the girl and her gerbil, but cannot for the life of me remember their names.
Thanks Zilla for the kick, the interesting information, and the resulting college memory.