Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
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Dipodomys compactus

Gulf Coast Kangaroo Rat

Order: Rodentia
Family: Heteromyidae

Image of Dipodomys compactus
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Conservation Status: Least Concern.


Gulf Coast Kangaroo Rats are confined to barrier islands of northeastern Mexico and southern Texas and the nearby Texas mainland. No fossils of this species have been found, but because of features of its teeth and skull, scientists think it is the most primitive living species of kangaroo rat. It has five toes on each hind foot, unlike most kangaroo rats, which have four. Seeds are its main food, although it also eats insects. Unlike Ord's Kangaroo Rat, which shares part of its range, it can take advantage of areas that have been cleared for farming and ranching. It must have soft soil to dig its burrows, however, whereas Ord's Kangaroo Rat usually lives where the soil is hard-packed and vegetation is thick.

Sexual Dimorphism:
Males are larger than females.

Length:
Average: 228.1 mm males; 227.6 mm females
Range: 203-255 mm males; 210-266 mm females

Weight:
Average: 53 g males; 45 g females
Range: 46-60 g males; 44-46 g females

References:

True, F.W., 1889.  Description of Geomys personatus and Dipodomys compactus, two new species of rodents from Padre Island, Texas, p. 160.  Proceedings of theU.S. National Museum, 11:159-160.

Links:

Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Dipodomys compactus

Image of Dipodomys compactus
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