The gerbil most commonly kept as a pet is a species known as the Mongolian Gerbil, it’s scientific name is Meriones unguiculatus. Roughly translated, this means Clawed Warrior. Legend has it that this name was bestowed on it by the Emperor Genghis Kahn when a gerbil bit the foot of an assassin just as he was about to strike the sleeping Emperor. The bite caused the assassin to yell out in pain, waking Kahn who grabbed his sword and thwarted the assassin. From that moment on, Genghis and his gerbil were inseparable and wherever Genghis went his trusty warrior gerbil went too.
This legend may have been slightly embellished over time but one thing is for sure, Genghis knew a good pet when he saw one.