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  Rodentia · Heteromyidae · Dipodomys deserti
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Dipodomys deserti

Desert Kangaroo Rat

Order: Rodentia
Family: Heteromyidae

Image of Dipodomys deserti
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Conservation Status: Least Concern.


Desert Kangaroo Rats live in sand dunes in very hot, dry deserts of the southwestern United States, even below sea level in Death Valley, California. They need deep sand for their burrows, and will not dig them in rapidly shifting sand. Only one Kangaroo Rat lives in each burrow, except for a mother with her young. Desert Kangaroo Rats leave their burrows at night to forage for seeds and other plant food to eat, but they are also active by day, digging new tunnels. The underground network of tunnels includes a grass-lined nest chamber and storerooms for food the Kangaroo Rat carries home in its fur-lined cheek pouches. Desert Kangaroo Rats communicate by drumming their feet on the ground, tooth-chattering, and with squeals, grunts, and growling sounds.

Sexual Dimorphism:
Males are larger than females.

Length:
Average: 342 mm males; 331 mm females

Weight:
Range: 91-148 g males; 83-141 g females

References:

Stephens, F., 1887.  Description of a new species of Dipodomys, with some account of its habits, p. 42.  The American Naturalist, 21:42-49.

Links:

Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Dipodomys deserti

Image of Dipodomys deserti
Click to enlarge. (120kb)