Kangaroo Rats are small rodents found only in the more arid
regions of the western and southwestern. They are
9 - 14 inches in length (over half of which
is comprised of their tail) with pale tan fur on the tops of their bodies and
light fur underneath. Their most distinguishing feature is their long hind legs
which they use to hop, like little kangaroos, using their long tails for
balance. They live in sandy to rocky soils with little vegetation in the desert
scrub of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of California and Arizona, and western
through southern Nevada.
Kangaroo Rats have extremely efficient kidneys which allow them
to get all of their water from the food they eat.
Kangaroo Rats live in large dens which they dig themselves at
the base of bushes, like creosote bush , or in the banks of wind drifted sand.
Their burrows are up to 4 1/2 feet (1.5 m) deep, and have a number of entrances
and many passages which connect to food storage rooms and a nest chamber. The
nest is made out of grass and other plants. It spends most of its day
underground sleeping, and comes out to feed at night when it is cooler. They
mostly eat seeds, leaves, stems and insects which they store in their large
cheek pouches that open on either side of the mouth. They typically have 2 - 3
litters a year with 1 - 7 babies in each (usually 2). Predators include
coyotes, foxes, badgers, snakes, owls.