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 Adaptations of the Kangaroo Rat

I Will Survive: Adaptations of the Kangaroo Rat

Case Study

Kangaroo Rats

can weigh up to 4.5 ounces (128 g).

body length can be 3.5 to 5.5 inches (8 -14 cm) and their tail can be 5.5 to 6.5 inches long (14-16 cm)

inhabit a variety of niches

desert scrub, open grasslands, washes, sandy soils or creosote flats

found in the drier regions of the western and southwestern U.S

eat seeds from a variety of desert grasses as well as mesquite beans. On occasion, some kangaroo rats will eat green vegetation and some insects.

don’t sweat or pant like other animals to keep cool because that would cause them to loose water from their bodies

can survive without ever drinking any water, getting needed moisture from their seed diet

Watch this video for background to the case study.

Predators and Adaptations

Kangaroo Rat


You notice from the video that the kangaroo rat lives on the prairie in Texas (11 counties) where there is little to no water. Other species of kangaroo rat live in southwestern US in deserts, again little to no water.


Interestingly, kangaroo rats eat seeds; notice the seeds the researchers pt in the traps. In the southwestern US, kangaroo rats eat mesquite beans


Using the case study information provided,

explain why the kangaroo rat is limited to the southwestern US and only certain counties in Texas

explain why the kangaroo rat does not have to drink any water

explain the type of molecules/elements the kangaroo rat obtains from its food and how those elements are used in the body.

Be sure to focus on the scientific concepts that underly your answer. Here is the general format for your lecture

Summarize case study and point out observations. State how the major scientific concepts answer the question above (2 mins)

Explanation of scientific concepts that build the framework for your answer (8-9 mins)

Tie in specific elements of the scientific concepts to the answer to the question (1-2 mins)

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