kangaroo rat

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kangaroo rat,

small, jumping desert rodent, genus Dipodomys, related to the pocket mousepocket mouse,
small jumping rodent of W North America and as far south as N South America. More closely related to the squirrel than the true mouse, the pocket mouse gets its name from the fur-lined cheek pouches in which it carries its food. It varies in length from 3 to 12 in.
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. There are about 20 kangaroo rat species, found throughout the arid regions of Mexico and the S and W United States. Kangaroo rats have large, mouselike heads with big eyes, external fur-lined cheek pouches for food storage, and extremely long, tufted tails. In many species the tail is longer than the combined head and body length. The total length, including the tail, is 10 to 15 in. (25–37.5 cm), depending on the species. The front limbs are very short and the back limbs extremely long and stiltlike. The animal moves by long leaps, like a kangaroo, using its tail for balance and as a rudder for turning at high speeds. Kangaroo rats have long silky fur, pale brown above and white beneath, with black and white tail tufts and black face markings. Solitary, nocturnal creatures, they live in burrows by day and forage at night for seeds, grass, and tubers. Active hoarders, they sometimes dry their food in shallow pits just below the surface of the ground, then dig it up and store it in their burrows. Like a number of other desert animals, the kangaroo rat has physiological mechanisms for conserving the water that it obtains from food or produces metabollically, so that it does not need to drink. A related genus, Microdipodops, is called the kangaroo mouse, or dwarf kangaroo rat. It is about 6 in. (15 cm) in total length and is found in the Great Basin of the W United States. Kangaroo rats are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Rodentia, family Heteromyidae.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The range of the San Quintin kangaroo rat (Dipodomys gravipes) is restricted, so far as known historically, to a stretch of coastal habitat less than 150 km in length and a few kilometers in width (Best and Lackey 1985) at the southern end of the California Floristic Province--a global biodiversity hotspot and one of the most critically endangered ecosystems on earth (Myers et al.
But in less than a second, the snake is on the ground with nothing but dust in its jaws and the kangaroo rat is bounding away to freedom.
We collected tissue samples from six populations of giant kangaroo rats in the southern part of the range in the San Joaquin Valley (Fig.
Stephens' kangaroo rats use burrows for nesting, resting during daylight hours, storing food, and eluding predators.
These stores of seeds are called "caches." A kangaroo rat may sometimes defend its caches from other kangaroo rats trying to steal them.
It is notable that kangaroo rats and other desert rodents possess high auditory sensitivity, a characteristic that may enhance the ability of these species to detect and evade predators.
Samples of spleen and kidney from white-toothed woodrats TK133448 and TK133451, 7 other white-toothed woodrats, 2 antibody-positive Nelson's pocket mice (Chaetodipus nelsoni), and an antibody-positive Merriam's kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami) were tested for arenavirus by cultivation in monolayers of Vero E6 cells (11).
Associated disturbances, such as road construction and discarded equipment that accumulates soil, are thought to be beneficial for kangaroo rats (Roberts & Packard 1973; Stangl & Schafer 1990; Stangl et al.
Kangaroo rats and their desert cousins, pocket mice, share another feature that helps them survive in the desert: external cheek pouches that they use to temporarily store their food.
A golden eagle hovers above, while cute little kangaroo rats (which hop on their hind legs but aren't in fact marsupials) peek out from behind cactus bushes.
Mice in near biblical plague numbers crowd my abode, also pack rats and kangaroo rats. The latter are meek, timid little creatures.