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Dipodomys nitratoides

San Joaquin Valley Kangaroo Rat

Order: Rodentia
Family: Heteromyidae

Image of Dipodomys nitratoides
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Conservation Status: Vulnerable.


As might be expected from its name, the San Joaquin Valley Kangaroo Rat inhabits south-central California. The species is at risk because agriculture takes ever-increasing bits of its habitat. It cannot live in cultivated areas, and particularly dislikes the near-proximity of irrigation ditches. It prefers arid, alkaline plains with sparse vegetation, where it consumes seeds of annuals and shrubs, including saltbush. These small kangaroo rats are nocturnal and do not hibernate. Adults are very aggressive toward each other except for male-female interactions during the breeding season. Females usually have litters of two. The young are well-developed at birth. They mother crouches over them, keeping them warm but not crushing them, while they nurse. Young siblings interact and groom each other. They are weaned when they are about three weeks old and are soon independent, digging their own burrows and keeping all others of their kind out.

Also known as:
San Joaquin Kangaroo Rat, Fresno Kangaroo Rat

Sexual Dimorphism:
Males are larger than females.

Length:
Average: 240 mm males; 235 mm females
Range: 215-253 mm males; 211-250 mm females

Weight:
Average: 44 g
Range: 40-53 g

References:

Merriam, C.H., 1894.  Preliminary descriptions of eleven new kangaroo rats of the genera Dipodomys and Perodipus, p. 112.  Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 9:109-116.

Links:

Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Dipodomys nitratoides

Image of Dipodomys nitratoides
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