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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Rodentia · Heteromyidae · Dipodomys merriami

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Dipodomys merriami

Merriam's Kangaroo Rat

Order: Rodentia
Family: Heteromyidae

Image of Dipodomys merriami
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Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Like all members of the family Heteromyidae, Merriam's Kangaroo Rat is found only in the New World. Many kangaroo rats have rather specific habitat preferences, but Merriam's Kangaroo Rat is not one of these. It can inhabit arid regions where the ground is predominantly rocks, gravel, sand, or clay. Like other kangaroo rats (and kangaroo mice), it specializes in bipedal locomotion, which means that it usually moves around by hopping on two feet, like a chubby little kangaroo. The hindquarters of kangaroo rats and mice are strong and well developed to support this method of locomotion. Some kangaroo rats can leap 2 m (more than 6 feet) at a single bound.

Sexual Dimorphism:

Males are larger than females.


Average: 247 mm
Range: 195-282 mm


Range: 33.2-53.1 g


Mearns, E.A., 1890.  Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 2:290.


Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).

Distribution of Dipodomys merriami

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