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Chisel-toothed Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys microps)
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Chisel-toothed Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys microps)

Description: Chisel-toothed Kangaroo Rats (Dipodomys microps), also called Great Basin Kangaroo Rats, are among the larger kangaroo rats (head and body: to 5 inches; tail: to 7 inches; total length to about 12 inches). Body color is brown with some darker hairs above, light below. Hind foot with 5 toes (look carefully for reduced toe); toes hardly visible through the hairs on the bottom of the foot (giving rise to the nickname: fuzzy-foot). Tail dark with light stripes on the sides and dark hairs in the tuft at the tip. Kangaroo rats move about by hopping on the hind legs like Australian kangaroos.

This species has chisel-shaped lower incisors (flat across the front). They use these teeth to scrape off the salty outer surface of saltbush leaves (also shadscale and greasewood), then eat the remainder of the leaves.

Taxonomy: Order: Rodentia, Family: Heteromyidae.

Chisel-toothed Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys microps)
Chisel-toothed Kangaroo Rat feeding on saltbush

Diet: Feeds more on leaves than seeds, which is unusual for the genus. Does not require free water.

Habitat: Desert flats and lower hillsides with gravel soils and sparsely covered with shrubs, primarily in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zone.

Range: Most of Nevada and spilling over into adjacent states (northwest Utah, northwest Arizona, southeast California).

Comments: Nocturnal. When excited, kicks sand and drums the ground with its hind feet.

Chisel-toothed Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys microps) Chisel-toothed Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys microps)
Chisel-toothed Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys microps) Chisel-toothed Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys microps)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 111213

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