Results of experiments conducted in T-maze to probe the functional role of conspecific odours indicated that whereas the male Indian gerbil,Tatera indica indica invariably prefers odours (from their body, that of the sebum exudation of scent marking gland, urine and faecal matter) of strange males, the females with and devoid of the scent marking gland show slight preference for male odours. However, all the categories ofTatera indica placed their preference for their own odours at the lowest. This behaviour suggests that the role of scent marking to label the habitat for its own use or to signal ‘home’ to the marking animal may not be the sole function of scent marking in this species. It is quite possible that in the desert grassland, scent marking is being used for maintaining a minimum distance between two animals or pairs, as exhibited by the diversity in the occurrence of the scent gland in the field (pair-tolerant) and urban (gregarious social organisation) populations ofTatera indica. This type of spatial distribution, maintained by scent marking behaviour, may be important to withstand the low carrying capacity of the aridland which suffers from almost a perpetual paucity of food.