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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 the Carrizo Plain National Monument in San Luis Obispo County, California.   Short-nosed K-rats share this habitat with their larger - and similarly endangered - congener, the giant kangaroo rat.   Other K-rat species pictured on this site include:

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