Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Michael Canning
Photo Courtesy of Michael Canning

Merriam's kangaroo rat, Dipodomys merriami, occurs throughout much of Mexico, as well as in the southwestern United States. In Utah, the species can be found only in the extreme southwestern corner of the state. Preferred habitats for the species include deserts, grasslands, and shrublands with sparse vegetation and loose soils.

Females may give birth to two litters of two or three young each year. The diet of the species is composed primarily of seeds, although other vegetation and insects are occasionally consumed. Merriam's kangaroo rats are nocturnal and active throughout the year. Inactive periods of the day are spent in shallow underground burrows. Similar to other kangaroo rats, Merriam's kangaroo rats have external fur-lined cheek pouches in which seeds can be stored for later use.


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

  • Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider. 1980. A field guide to the mammals. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 289 pp.