Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Aaron Ambos
Photo Copyright Aaron Ambos

The desert kangaroo rat, Dipodomys deserti, occurs in a relatively small area that includes parts of northern Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah. In Utah, the species is limited to the extreme southwestern corner of the state. Preferred habitats of the desert kangaroo rat include low deserts and scrublands with sandy soils and sparse vegetation. The species is nocturnal and active year-round. Inactive periods of the day are spent in underground burrows, which are dug in mounds, often under vegetation.

Females may give birth to two litters of one to six young each year. Desert kangaroo rats primarily eat seeds, although green vegetation and insects are also occasionally consumed. Similar to other kangaroo rats, desert kangaroo rats have external fur-lined cheek pouches in which seeds can be stored for later use. Long-term seed storage occurs in underground burrows.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.