TOM MCHUGH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY TOM MCHUGH / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ord's kangaroo rat. Ord's kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ordii) hopping. This small rodent inhabits the dry wastelands of south-western North America, living in extensive tunnel systems in the hard soil. The tunnels have numerous escape routes and exits, usually hidden under low scrub. Kangaroo rats hardly ever drink, getting most of the liquid they require from fleshy plants. They only leave their nests under cover of darkness as they are an important prey species for a variety of carnivores, including snakes, owls and coyotes. This rodent is named for its large back feet, which allow it to make fast hopping escapes from predators. Its tail is used as a counter balance.
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