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Kangaroo rats

Kangaroo rat is considerably larger than other species.The Kangaroo Rat is a member of the heteromyidae family, with its closest relative being the pocket gopher.They live in most habitats across norteast united states.

Kangaroo rat

Kangaroo rat

Kangaroo rats have buff-colored fur, with a white front on their bodies. Their tails, which are longer than their bodies, are narrow, with white and dark stripes on them and bushy tips. They are bigger than many small rodents in Idaho; they can grow to be 9-12 inches long. The name “kangaroo rat,” comes from their long, white hind feet and powerful thighs, which look large compared to their tiny front feet, similar to a kangaroo’s body structure. Despite its name and mouse-like appearance, the Kangaroo Rat is actually not a rat or a mouse.

kangaroo rat is a rare rodent with habitat preferences unusual for a kangaroo rat. It lives on clay soils supporting sparse, short grasses and small, scattered mesquite bushes. The rats make trails leading to their burrows, which invariably enter the ground at the base of a small mesquite, often in such fashion that one root of the mesquite forms the top or side of the opening.

Scratching and dusting places, so characteristic of other species of kangaroo rats, are inconspicuous. The burrow is similar to that of the Ord’s kangaroo rat, but usually it is shorter and the animal does not plug the entrances during the daytime. Highly nocturnal, these kangaroo rats do not become active until complete darkness and reportedly cease activity on moonlit nights.

Kangaroo rats

Kangaroo rats

Life Cycle:Sexual maturity was attained in as little as 82 days after birth. Pregnant female kangaroo rats have been taken between February and March and June and September. Pregnancies between June and September might represent second or third litters for adult females, summer breeding by young females born in the spring, or both. Females are probably capable of breeding two or more times per year.

Breeding probably is initiated in winter after onset of the rainy season. Nothing is known about pair bonds in wild populaions, but there probably are no lasting male-female pair bonds formed. Females may breed with more than one male during a breeding cycle, though typically a single male attains dominance for mating purposes with one or more females within his territory, as is true of closely related kangaroo rat species. Most females born the previous season probably do not give birth until mid-February or early March during years with average or below average rainfall. In captivity, gestation was 32 days and young were weaned at 21 to 24 days. Average litter size in captive kangaroo rats was about two (range, one to three).

Young are born in the burrow, probably within a nest of dried, shredded vegetation. Young remain continuously in the burrow until they are fully furred and able to move about easily. young kangaroo rats were not found out of the burrow and foraging for themselves until about 6 weeks old. This is consistent for estimates for Tipton and short-nosed kangaroo rats .

Kangaroo rat

Kangaroo rat

Based on limited information, populations of kangaroo rats probably turn over annually with most individuals born in the spring or summer not surviving to breed the following spring. In the only study of kangaroo rats, found that only 2 of 75 marked animals were present on study plots through four trapping periods between 10 February and 28 December. Numbers were lowest in April, prior to dispersal of spring-born young, and peaked in May. By June, juveniles comprised the majority of the population. Maximum longevity in natural populations is probably between 3 to 5 years, based on studies of short-nosed kangaroo rats .

Reproductive potential of kangaroo rats is relatively low compared to most rodents. Limiting factors on populations are unknown, but availability of suitable sites for burrows, free from winter flooding, probably is a major factor. No specific information is available on limitations of food. Likewise, there is no information on the roles of disease and predation in the population dynamics of kangaroo rats. Under current conditions of small, isolated and potentially inbred populations, both disease and predation are major threats.


Control: growing grain or grasses that attract kangaroo rats, plant the crops in the early spring months before kangaroo rat populations swell. Grow a border of non-grain vegetation around your garden or pasture.Trap the kangaroo rats. This is ideal for contained locations such as gardens and barns. Use a live or lethal mouse trap, available from most hardware stores. Bait the traps with a scoop of peanut butter or pieces of whole corn. If using a live trap, check the trap every four to five hours and release the captured rodents at least a mile from your home.Scare the kangaroo rats away.

Kangaroo rats

Kangaroo rats

This is the ideal, humane and low-effort method. Set up ultrasonic rodent repellents around the perimeter of the garden, pasture or barn. The devices emit a piercing sound that the rodents cannot stand. Or treat the perimeter with a rodent repellent spray or powder formulated from bobcat urine. This tricks the kangaroo rats into thinking a predator is nearby.Poison the kangaroo rats. Use a water-based poison, because the rodents are drawn to moisture. A standard rodent anticoagulant, which causes uncontrolled internal bleeding, available from a hardware store, is effective. Mix the poison with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions, as toxicity varies widely by product. Set the poison out in shallow dishes in problem areas.

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