The Stephens’ kangaroo rat is a small, nocturnal mammal. It was listed as endangered in 1988. Threats at the time of listing included loss and fragmentation of habitat. The Stephens’ kangaroo rat was discovered at four additional geographical locations after the 1988 listing, and its status has improved to the point that it is not currently in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. It was downlisted to threatened in 2021.
The threat of habitat loss has been significantly reduced through the development and implementation of the Stephens’ Kangaroo Rat Habitat Conservation Plan and the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan in Riverside County, and management efforts by the Department of Defense on Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach Detachment Fallbrook, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and at Navy Base Coronado’s Remote Training Site Warner Springs in San Diego County.
The species is brown and white.
It weighs on average 2.37 ounces.
It has fur-lined, external cheek pouches used for transporting seeds, large hind legs for leaping with smaller front legs and a large head. Its hind feet have dusky soles and five toes, and its tail is one and a half times its body length.
Kangaroo rats possess a number of behavioral, morphological and physiological adaptations that allow them to inhabit warm, arid environments. Its habitat generally consists of open grasslands and sparsely vegetated scrub.
Kangaroo rats construct and live in underground burrow systems used for shelter, protection from predators, food storage and nesting. Breeding activity is higher in winter and spring, and the maximum life span has been reported from two to six years.
They primarily eat seeds and forage almost entirely at night.
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