Kangaroo Rat

Characteristics

Although they are not related to kangaroos, these rats are called kangaroo rats because of their ability to hop with the use of their powerful hind legs, long tail, and big feet. They are small, and prefer to eat seeds, which they can even convert into water. Their body ranges from 3/5 to 4/5 inch long while their tails are 7/10 to 9/10 inch long.

Habitat

Kangaroo rats prefer to live alone in created burrows underground that are in sandy to rocky soils in desert locations.

These rats are found in:
• Perennial grasses
• Scrublands
• Saltbush
• Sandy soils
• Stony soils

Behavior

This rat is a nocturnal rodent that are mostly active at night searching for food, and will stay most of their day sleeping in their chosen burrows. When they come out at night, they will look for seeds and grains that they will carry back to their burrow with the use of their cheek pouches. They do not like to stay out for a long time because they are very territorial. They will mostly go out and forage for food for just 20 minutes or less.

Kangaroo rats are truly similar to a kangaroo because of having very large 2 feet at the back and two small feet at the front. This also enables them to leap quickly away from predators. Their very long tail also helps them when they jump since this acts to provide balance, and can also distract and confuse predators to where they will be going. They can also blend well in their environment because of their fur color, protecting them from hungry predators.

Food

Seeds are their main source of food. They normally consume mesquite, purslane, ocotillo, grama grass, creosote bush, succulents, and grasses. They will gather the seeds and will store the ones that they will not eat for later consumption.

Life Cycle

During the mating season, the female kangaroo rat can mate to as many males to increase the chances of conception. Gestation period lasts for 22 to 27 days. Once the young are born, they will be taken care by the mother since they are still blind and hairless. These young kangaroo rats will stay with their mother for the next one to six months before they go on their own, find their own burrows, and search for their seeds.

Other Information and Tips

While kangaroo rats prefer to live in the wild, there are some instances when they become a pest. It is necessary to be careful around them because they can carry different fleas that are also carriers of different diseases that can be passed on to pets and people. However, these rats are part of an endangered species that needs help in conserving. If encountered, make sure to get the help of a wildlife control operator to help these kangaroo rats be placed back in their natural habitats.


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