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 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. It's a member of the heteromyidae family, with its closest relative being the pocket gopher.
Kangaroo Rat, courtesy U.S. National Park Service
Habitat: They love to dwell in shrub-dominated communities, and on some rocky slopes. Many BLM lands are dominated by sagebrush and saltbush, so kangaroo rats live throughout southern Idaho. Kangaroo rats are nocturnal, so you won’t see them very often, especially during daylight hours.
Food: This rodent loves to eat leaves from saltbush, and they like to eat seeds as well. They will sometimes eat insects and fungi too.
Fun Facts: Their powerful thighs allow them to jump up to six feet in one bound.
Kangaroo Rat, courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service