Gundis or comb rats (family Ctenodactylidae) are a group of small, stocky rodents found in Africa. They live in rocky deserts across the northern parts of the continent. The family comprises four living genera and five species (Speke's gundi, Felou gundi, Val's or desert gundi, common or North African gundi and Mzab gundi), as well as numerous extinct genera and species. They are in the superfamily Ctenodactyloidea. Local people in northern Africa have always known about gundis, however they first came to the notice of western naturalists in Tripoli in 1774, and were given the name gundi mice. While they are not regarded as pests, some people hunt gundis for food.
Gundis live in all manner of rocky desert habitats: cliffs, hills, rocky outcrops, scree slopes, and so on. They are found between sea level and 2,500 meters in elevation.
Gundis live in colonies of up to a hundred or more individuals, although this is much less in environments where food is particularly scarce. They shelter in existing rock crevices at night, or during midday when the sun becomes too hot for them to remain active. Most shelters are temporary, but some are occupied for years. Gundis pile onto each other for heat, especially in cold or windy weather. They are not known to hibernate. Gundi colonies have a dunghill that all the members of the colony use.
Gundis are vocal animals, with a range of alarm calls and communication signals for group bonding, greetings, and alerting other gundis of predators. All members of Ctenodactylidae thump their hind feet on the ground when alarmed. Gundis rely on their acute hearing.
If a gundi is threatened, it will run to the nearest rock crevice or play dead. While gundis are generally slow, they can sprint when threatened. Gundis can also climb up almost vertical surfaces.