The closest stop sign is over a mile away and the first traffic light is 5+ miles down the road. A visit to the grocery store is almost 30 miles round trip. It's quiet here; just the sound of toads and coyotes at night. It seems very still, but when you look close there's always something happening. Read on about a few things we've noticed over the past few years.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

kangaroo rat

These are in a "protected" status in our area, lots of controversy surrounds this mouse - no harm is supposed to be done to them.  In the early morning, my vehicle headlights often catch them running across the road.  I know they are a favorite treat of the hawks and owls and I can't say I mind that too much.  Notice how long the tail is in this pic. 
Weight: 1-6 oz.
Length with tail: 6-12"
No. of Young: 1-7, 3 avg.
Lifespan: years in the wild
Typical diet: seeds, grasses

Food-hoarding is done by the the use of external fur-lined cheek pouches that are used to transport food from the harvest location to the storage site. This fur lining allows for seed transport with minimal water loss.

Kangaroo rats have highly developed hind legs, they live in deep burrows that shelter them from the worst of the desert heat. They have a water-efficient metabolism.  Their kidneys are four times more efficient at retaining water than those of humans. 

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