Desert kangaroo rat
A small, hopping rodent which lives in the desert, coming out at night to search for seeds which it carries in its cheek pouches.
3-5 years (up to 9 years in captivity).
10-20cm long with a tail the same length as the body.
Kangaroo rats are small rodents which hop on their hind legs and have long tails to balance them. The desert kangaroo rat is a sandy colour all over with a pale underbelly and dark hair at the end of its tail.
Central southern USA and northern Mexico.
Desert scrub, where there is wind-drifted sand with sparse covering.
The desert kangaroo rat stays in its burrow during the day and comes out at night in search of fallen seeds, which it stuffs into its cheek pouches. These are then eaten or stored in caches for the future.
Breeding takes place only after a good rainfall, in March-June, after a gestation of 29-32 days. Both males and females can breed a few months after birth. 3-5 young are born underground and are weaned after 3-4 weeks.
The desert kangaroo rat is not currently threatened.