Psammomys obesus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Rodentia Muridae

Scientific Name: Psammomys obesus Cretzschmar, 1828
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Fat Sand Rat
French Rat de Sable

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-09-01
Assessor(s): Granjon, L.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G.
Contributor(s): Aulagnier, S.
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found in North Africa from Mauritania and Western Sahara to Egypt, and east through Sinai Peninsula into Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan and Syria. It is unevenly distributed probably due to its dependence on succulent plants for moisture. It has been recorded from a harbour in Sudan, where it may have been accidentally introduced.
Countries occurrence:
Algeria; Egypt; Israel; Jordan; Libya; Mauritania; Morocco; Saudi Arabia; Sudan; Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is common. At times, population explosions occur.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species is only found in the vicinity of succulent shrubs, which are its main food source. It is a habitat generalist, found in rocky habitats, grasslands, semi-desert and desert so long as succulent shrubs are present. This mostly diurnal species is colonial and lives in burrow systems in open terrain of soil or sand. The causative agent for Leishmaniasis has been isolated from this species in Jordan (Amr 2000). The species is used in laboratory studies on diabetes (Qumsiyeh 1996).
Generation Length (years):1-2

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is used for experimental medicine for diabetes and obesity research.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No major threats. The species is persecuted as a pest and is a reservoir for cutaneous leishmaniasis.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Found in many protected areas.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: This errata assessment has been created because the map was accidentally left out of the version published previously.

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.17. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools
8. Desert -> 8.1. Desert - Hot
0. Root -> 17. Other

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education

Bibliography [top]

Amr, Z.S. 2000. Jordan Country Study of Biological Diversity. Mammals of Jordan. United Nations Environment Programme and National Library, Amman, Jordan.

Fichet-Calvet, E., Jomaa, I., Zaafouri, B., Ashford, R.W., Ben Ismaïl, R. and Delattre, P. 2000. The spatio-temporal distribution of a rodent reservoir host of cutaneous leishmaniasis. Journal of Applied Ecology 37: 603–615.

Harrison, D.L. and Bates, P.J.J. 1991. The Mammals of Arabia. Harrison Zoological Museum, Sevenoaks, UK.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at: (Accessed: 07 December 2016).

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-1. Available at: (Accessed: 27 April 2017).

Qumsiyeh, M.B. 1996. Mammals of the Holy Land. Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock.

Citation: Granjon, L. 2016. Psammomys obesus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T18418A115143282. . Downloaded on 27 April 2018.
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