Click to return to the Kangaroo Rat photo.
Can there really be a creature in the United States that hops around on big hind feet, has a long tail and pouches? YES, and it is obvious why it would be named after a kangaroo.
Unlike real kangaroos, their pouches are in their cheeks. These rats gather seeds and store them in their pouches until they return to their burrows.
The background photo is kangaroo rat habitat in Afton Canyon, California
The Merriam's kangaroo rat is about 14 inches long to the tip of its tail. Just like a real kangaroo, these rats use their tails to balance as they hop around. Believe it or not, they almost never drink water. They get water by a metabolic process and the moisture in their food. They have extremely concentrated urine so they can further conserve water.
Kangaroo rats live almost entirely underground in burrows, coming out for only a short time after dark. Most live in the desert around scrub and bushes that provide seeds for food.