The Giant Kangaroo Rat has survived by adapting to the desert. However, they are an endangered species because their desert habitat has been turned into oil fields and farmland.
Body length: 31.1 to 34.7 cm
Tail length: 15.7 to 19.8 cm
Weight: 131 to 180 g
(Source: Doubutsu Sekai-isan* Red Data Animals Kodansha) (*World Animal Heritage)
The Giant Kangaroo Rat lives in the desert of San Joaquin Valley, located in the western part of the United States of America.
The Giant Kangaroo Rat eats plant leaves and seeds. Sometimes they store seeds in tunnels or burrows dug beneath the desert sand to give the seeds more moisture.
They dig their burrows and tunnels in the sand, and spend the hot afternoons in their holes.
Adapting to the desert where few rivals live.
The Giant Kangaroo Rat has survived by adapting to the desert. It is a harsh environment, but luckily one with few rivals and predators. Their long hind legs, like kangaroos, make it easy for them to move through the desert by jumping. Rather than relying on the desert's scarce water supply, the Giant Kangaroo Rat gets the moisture it needs from plants, and it can go on with very little water.
95% of their habitat has disappeared?!
Today, the Giant Kangaroo Rat is on the brink of extinction. The development of oil fields, farmlands, and cities in the desert is said to account for 95% of their habitat loss. All animals have their livable environment. We humans may fail to see the importance of desert land. But for the Giant Kangaroo Rat, it is an irreplaceable home.
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