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Last Updated: Monday December 10 2007 07:16 GMT

Mystery mammal caught on film

Long-eared jerboa

A strange-looking critter that's been called the Mickey Mouse of the desert has been caught on film for what's thought to be the very first time.

The tiny rodent is a long-eared jerboa, which is normally found in the deserts of China and Mongolia.

The endangered mammals may not have been filmed before, but they're easy to identify thanks to their enormous ears!

Their ears are bigger than their head and their legs are specially adapted so they can jump around like kangaroos.

Check out the Mickey Mouse mammal of the desert

Jerboas are nocturnal creatures, which means they like to hide in burrows during the day and only come out at night.

But a team of experts from the Zoological Society of London managed to film the little critters in Mongolia and they're very excited about the footage.

Long-eared jerboa
A jerboa's ears are about one third bigger than its head

Dr Jonathan Baillie, who led the expedition, said they're hoping it will help them to learn more about the mysterious mammals.

"These creatures hop just like a kangaroo; it is amazing to watch. Little hairs on their feet, almost like snow shoes, allow them to jump along the sand," he said.

"These amazing, remarkable creatures are on the verge of extinction and we know almost nothing about them."