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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Rodentia · Heteromyidae · Microdipodops megacephalus

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Microdipodops megacephalus

Dark Kangaroo Mouse

Order: Rodentia
Family: Heteromyidae

Image of Microdipodops megacephalus
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Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Kangaroo Mice have fat deposits in the middle of their tails. The fat deposits change in size according to the season, being largest when the animals go into hibernation and smallest when they emerge in the spring. Individuals with the largest fat deposits have a better chance of surviving hibernation. No other small mammals in North America have such fat deposits in their tails, but there are small desert-dwelling mammals in Africa and Australia that do. As with other members of their family, the Heteromyidae, kangaroo Mice do not drink water, instead getting what they need from the seeds and insects they eat. They conserve water by restricting their activity to night, when it is cooler, and by producing concentrated urine and dry feces.

Sexual Dimorphism:



Average: 160 mm
Range: 138-177 mm


Average: 13.1 g
Range: 10-16.9 g


Merriam, C.H., 1891.  Description of a new genus and species of dwarf kangaroo rat from Nevada, (Microdipodops megacephalus) p. 115.  North American Fauna, 5:115-117.


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Distribution of Microdipodops megacephalus

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