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Short-nosed 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 short-nosed kangaroo rat (D. nitratoides brevinasus), at the small end (35 - 40 g) of the K-rat size range.   It is one of three very similar subspecies of the San Joaquin kangaroo rat.   All are threatened or endangered because 95% or more of their original habitat has been converted to farmland or towns.   This one was photographed in San Luis Obispo County, California as it fed along the the road through the Carrizo Plain National Monument.   Short-nosed K-rats share this habitat with their much larger -- and similarly endangered -- congener, the giant 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 with extension tube, electronic flash (2013)