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Panamint kangaroo rat        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Kangaroo rats (genus Dipodomys) are a group of burrowing North American rodents specialized for seed-eating.   They are named for their hopping locomotion and have large hind feet, long tails, and short front limbs used mainly for gathering seeds, which are carried in fur-lined external cheek pouches.   All kangaroo rats closely resemble each other, but vary considerably in body size.   This is the Panamint kangaroo rat (D. panamintinus), a medium-sized (60-80 g) species found mainly in sagebrush, creosote bush, and Joshua tree scrublands in eastern California and western Nevada.   These were photographed in Long Valley in the eastern Sierra Nevada.   Most kangaroo rats are calm if handled gently and Panamints are exceptionally so: I've often 'poured' them out of a live-trap onto my hand, and they invariably pause to collect any seeds from my palm before quietly hopping off.   Other K-rat species pictured on this site include:

  • Canon 1D Mk. II, 7D2, or 5D4; 500 IS lens with extension tubes, or 800 mm IS lens some with 1.4X converter, electronic flash (2006, 2018)