Animal Info - San Quintin Kangaroo Rat

Dipodomys gravipes

Status: Endangered


Contents

1. Profile (Picture)
2. Tidbits
3. Status and Trends (IUCN Status, Countries Where Currently Found, Population Estimates, History of Distribution, Threats and Reasons for Decline)
4. Data on Biology and Ecology (Habitat, Gestation Period, Diet, Behavior, Social Organization)
5. References


Profile

Pictures: Related Species: Giant Kangaroo Rat (6 Kb GIF) (Calif. Fish & Game); Fresno Kangaroo Rat (40 Kb GIF); Stephens' Kangaroo Rat (16 Kb JPEG);

The San Quintin kangaroo rat is found in flat land with low vegetation. Kangaroo rats generally prefer well-drained, easily worked soil to dig their burrows in. They can also recolonize abandoned agricultural lands. Seeds usually comprise the major portion of the diet of kangaroo rats. Fruits, leaves, stems, buds and insects can also be included. Kangaroo rats are nocturnal and live in burrows which they excavate. Kangaroo rats are usually strongly territorial, with 1 adult per burrow.

The San Quintin kangaroo rat occurs only in a 100 km (62 mi) strip of coastal lowlands in northern Baja California, Mexico, from San Telmo to El Rosario. It was reported to be abundant in this area in 1972, but by 1980 its former habitat was plowed up except for an area 9 km (6 mi) north of El Rosario. The San Quintin kangaroo rat's recent decline has been caused by habitat loss due to agriculture.


Tidbits

*** The San Quintin kangaroo rat is regarded as an effective "keystone predator". It affects the composition of the plant community, thereby indirectly affecting ant and bird densities. This rodent species preys on large-seeded plants that would otherwise competitively reduce the abundance of small-seeded plants. (Colding & Folke 1997)

*** Kangaroo rats seldom drink water, since they are able to use water resulting from the chemical breakdown of their food. They conserve moisture by coming out of their burrows at night when the humidity is highest. They have kidneys at least 4 times as efficient as those of humans, and thus need much less water to remove wastes. (Nowak & Paradiso 1983)

*** Kangaroo rats travel by hopping on their hind legs. When threatened, they can hop 2 m (6.6') or more with one hop.

*** Bathing in dust is apparently necessary for the well-being of kangaroo rats. When they are not able to do so, captive kangaroo rats develop sores on their body and their fur becomes matted from oily secretions on their back. (Nowak 1999)


Status and Trends

IUCN Status:

Countries Where the San Quintin Kangaroo Rat Is Currently Found:

2004: Occurs in Mexico (Baja California) (IUCN 2004).

Population Estimates:

[Note: Figures given are for wild populations only.]

  • WORLD (Mexico)
    • 1989: The total population might not exceed 30 individuals (Nowak 1999)

History of Distribution:

The San Quintin kangaroo rat occurs only in a 100 km (62 mi) strip of coastal lowlands in northern Baja California, Mexico, from San Telmo to El Rosario. It was reported to be abundant in this area in 1972, but by 1980 its former habitat was plowed up except for an area 9 km (6 mi) north of El Rosario. (Lidicker 1989) 

Distribution Map (12 Kb) (InfoNatura) 

Threats and Reasons for Decline:

The San Quintin kangaroo rat's recent decline was caused by habitat loss due to agriculture.


Data on Biology and Ecology

Habitat:

The San Quintin kangaroo rat is found in flat land with low vegetation. Kangaroo rats generally prefer well-drained, easily worked soil to dig their burrows in. Kangaroo rats can also recolonize abandoned agricultural lands (Price & Endo 1989).

The San Quintin kangaroo rat is one of the species that live in the California Floristic Province Biodiversity Hotspot (Cons. Intl.).  

Gestation Period:

Probably about 30 days.

Diet:

Seeds usually comprise the major portion of the diet of kangaroo rats. Fruits, leaves, stems, buds and insects can also be included.

Behavior:

Kangaroo rats are nocturnal. They live in burrows which they excavate.

Social Organization:

Kangaroo rats are usually strongly territorial, with 1 adult per burrow.


References

Calif. Fish & Game, Colding & Folke 1997, Cons. Intl.InfoNatura, IUCN 1994, IUCN 1996, IUCN 2000, IUCN 2003a, IUCN 2004, Lidicker 1989, Nowak 1999, Nowak & Paradiso 1983


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Last modified: June 2, 2005;

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