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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, the giant kangaroo rat (D. ingens); 140-160 g.   These were photographed along the main road through the Carrizo Plain National Monument in San Luis Obispo County, California.   The Plain is one of the few remaining strongholds of giant kangaroo rats, but they were plentiful when I visited.   Also present was a smaller congener, the short-nosed kangaroo rat.   Other K-rat species pictured on this site include:

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