Desert Kangaroo Rat


The Desert Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys deserti deserti) can be found in the low deserts of eastern San Diego County and is the largest of the kangaroo rats in the county. It prefers flat terrain with loose or sandy soils where it digs burrows for shelter and relief from extreme temperatures. Mostly nocturnal, it forages during the night but can be seen at the entrance of its burrow during the day.

Depending on availability, the Desert Kangaroo Rat feeds on seeds, green vegetation, and insects. It is very well adapted to living in desert conditions, but prolonged drought conditions threaten its populations. Predators of the Desert Kangaroo Rat include badgers, coyotes, owls, snakes, kit and gray foxes.

Did you know? Desert Kangaroo Rats temporarily collect and store food in large external cheek pouches, then carry this food to their private stashes outside and sometimes inside their burrow. Watch this video as a Desert Kangaroo Rat encounters a snake and hops away quickly.  Learn more about this unique little rodent by visiting the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

VIDEO CREDIT: BBC Motion Gallery / Getty Images

PHOTO CREDIT: BBC Motion Gallery / Getty Images