Dark Kangaroo Mouse

Dark Kangaroo Mouse

The Dark Kangaroo Mouse has dark brown and black fur covering their round bodies with long hind kangaroo-like legs. They have large ears, a large head, and a long tail. They are nocturnal mammals and are particularly sensitive to light, even moonlight!
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Microdipodops megacephalus
CLASSIFICATION
Mammal
LIFE SPAN
1-5 Years
SIZE
2.8-2.9 ” | 0.02-0.04 lbs
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • State Protected
FEDERAL CONSERVATION STATUS
Least Concern
GAME STATUS
Non-Game
GAME TYPE
None
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

Dark Kangaroo Mice inhabit dry desert areas with lots of loose sand and gravel; especially the Great Basin in Nevada and sand dunes between 4000 and 6800 feet. They create underground systems throughout the sand dunes that protects them from extreme temperatures and predators.

Threats

  • Habitat Loss
  • Invasive Species
  • Predation

Natural History

The Dark Kangaroo Mouse will live most of its life in burrows and emerge shortly after sunset to forage. Seeds are their primary source of food so they are known as “granivores,” but they will occasionally eat insects. They will forage by scratching and digging at sandy soil to expose seeds. They will collect the seeds in external cheek pouches to hoard for the winter months in their burrows. These mice are thought to have multiple litters per season, although their breeding habits are not well known. The average number of offspring is around four per litter but could be as high as seven or eight pups per litter. The breeding season spans from March to October. Being a smaller, ground-dwelling rodent makes the dark kangaroo mouse susceptible to predators. Common predators are foxes, badgers, owls, and rattlesnakes. Their dark coloring helps to camouflage them from predators as well their complex underground burrows can help them escape potential predators.

Fun Facts

These desert dwellers get most of their water from the plants they eat and not standing water sources. Their burrows also help to aerate soil, making it easier for root-bound plants to grow.