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Giant 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 largest of them all, the giant kangaroo rat (D. ingens); 140-160 g.   These were photographed in San Luis Obispo County, California along the main road through the Carrizo Plain National Monument.   The Plain is one of the few remaining strongholds of the giant kangaroo rat, but it was quite plentiful there when I visited.   It shares this area with its much smaller congener, the short-nosed kangaroo rat.
          Other pages on this site show the Ords, Panamint, Stephens', Dulzura, and Merriam's kangaroo rats.

  • Canon 1D4, 800 mm f4 IS lens, electronic flash (2013)