Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

July 1994


There are 23 species of kangaroo rats (genus Dipodomys) in North America. Fourteen species occur in the lower 48 states. The Ord’s kangaroo rat (D. ordi) occurs in 17 US states, Canada, and Mexico. Other widespread species include the Merriam kangaroo rat (D. merriami), bannertail kangaroo rat (D. spectabilis), desert kangaroo rat (D. deserti), and Great Basin kangaroo rat (D. microps). Kangaroo rats are distinctive rodents with small forelegs; long, powerful hind legs; long, tufted tails; and a pair of external, fur-lined cheek pouches similar to those of pocket gophers. They vary from pale cinnamon buff to a dark gray on the back with pure white underparts and dark markings on the face and tail. The largest, the giant kangaroo rat (D. ingens), has a head and body about 6 inches (15 cm) long with a tail about 8 inches (20 cm) long. The bannertail kangaroo rat is approximately the same size, but has a white-tipped tail. The other common species of kangaroo rats are smaller. The Ord’s kangaroo rat has a head and body about 4 inches (10 cm) long and a tail about 7 inches (18 cm) long.
Exclusion: Rat-proof fences may be practical only for small areas of high-value crops.
Cultural Methods: Plant less palatable crops along field edges and encourage dense stands of rangeland grass.
Repellents: None are registered.
Toxicants: Zinc phosphide.
Fumigants: Aluminum phosphide and gas cartridges are registered for various burrowing rodents.
Trapping: Live traps. Snap traps.
Other Methods: Use water to flush kangaroo rats from burrows.