Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
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Dipodomys spectabilis

Banner-tailed Kangaroo Rat

Order: Rodentia
Family: Heteromyidae

Image of Dipodomys spectabilis
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Conservation Status: Near Threatened.

The Banner-tailed Kangaroo Rat confines its activities to small areas near the large earthen mounds that contain its complex burrow systems. Usually gentle and timid, this Kangaroo Rat will fight furiously to defend its territory from invasion by other Banner-tailed Kangaroo Rats. Foot-drumming on top of the mounds is used as a warning signal. Like other kangaroo rats, it sandbathes, both to clean its fur and to scent-mark its territory. The white tip on the end of its long tail waves as the animal moves around, giving this Kangaroo Rat both its common name, Banner-tailed, and its Latin scientific name, "spectabilis," which means visible, worth seeing, notable, admirable, or remarkable.

Sexual Dimorphism:
Males are larger than females.

Average: 342 mm males; 338 mm females
Range: 315-349 mm males; 310-345 mm females

Average: 126 g males; 120 g females
Range: 100-132 g males; 98-130 g females


Merriam, C.H., 1890.  Descriptions of three new kangaroo rats, with remarks on the identity of Dipodomys ordii of Woodhouse, p. 46.  North American Fauna, 4:41-49.


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Dipodomys spectabilis

Image of Dipodomys spectabilis
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Image of Dipodomys spectabilis
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