Ecology Science Fair Project
The Kangaroo Rat

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Project Information
Title: The Kangaroo Rat
Subject: Ecology
Grade level: Primary School - Grades K-3
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Descriptive
Cost: Low
Awards: 1st place, Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (2005)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (VSF)
Year: 2005
Description: A study of the adaptations and habitat of the kangaroo rat as well as why its population status is threatened and what humans can do to protect the animal's status; quiz; pictures.

Kangaroo rats are small rodents. Originally they come form North and Central America. Their name comes from the fact that they look like little Kangaroos, when they are standing upright. Two animals are not related, though, except that both are mammals. The genus of these animals is called Dipodomys.

Currently, there are 22 species in that genus. They vary in size from 10 cm to 20cm, and weight is anywhere between 35 grams and 180 grams for adult animals.

Kangaroo rats live in dry climates. This means that they have developed similar traits to other species that live in similar climate, but are not related to them. Those species are the jerboas, which can be found in the deserts of Africa and Asia, and the hopping mice of the Australian Outback.

All of those species have highly developed hind legs. They also live in deep burrows that protect them from the worst heat of the day. They drink water very rarely, since it may be hard to find. Instead, they have a very efficient metabolism. Their kidneys are much more efficient than human kidneys. They can also chemically split off water from the food they eat.

Kangaroo mice are found in areas if the United States and Mexico, where there is some grass or vegetation left, but which have a rather dry climate. Scientists call those areas arid and semi-arid. The animals live on seeds, leaves, nuts and other fruit they can find. They also catch insects. They are also known for stockpiling (keeping) some food in their burrows, for bad times.

Usually the animals have a color that blends in nicely with the sandy surroundings. Most often they are a tone of dark yellow to deep brown.

For More Information: Kangaroo Rat

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)

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