Jaculus jaculus (Lesser Egyptian jerboa) and Paraechinus aethiopicus (Desert
hedgehog) are small mammals which thrive in desert conditions and are found, amongst
others, in the Arabian Peninsula. J. jaculus is omnivorous while P. aethiopicus is
described as being insectivorous. The study aims to describe the gastrointestinal tract
(GIT) morphology of these animals which differ in diet and phylogeny. The GITs of J. jaculus (n=8) and P. aethiopicus (n=7) were weighed, photographed, and the length,
basal surface areas and luminal surface areas of each of the anatomically distinct
gastrointestinal segments were determined. The internal aspects of each area were
examined and photographed while representative histological sections of each area were
processed to wax and stained using haematoxylin and eosin. Both species had a simple
unilocular stomach which was confirmed as wholly glandular on histology sections. P.
aethiopicus had a relatively simple GIT which lacked a caecum. The caecum of J.
jaculus was elongated, terminating in a narrow cecal appendix which contained
lymphoid tissue on histological examination. The internal aspect of the proximal colon
revealed distinct V-shaped folds. Stomach content analysis of J. jaculus revealed mostly
plant and seed material and some insects, whereas P. aethiopicus samples showed plant
material in addition to insects, indicating omnivorous feeding tendencies in areas where
insects may be scarce.