It looks like a small kangaroo for its hind legs are longer than its fore legs. And it uses its tail to balance itself. In fact, unlike other rats it does not run on all four legs but jumps around from bush to bush in search of food – like a kangaroo. And that’s why it is called the kangaroo rat.

It has another unique feature. Unlike most animals, the kangaroo rat does not need to drink water.

The kangaroo rat is found in the southwestern deserts of the United States of America (USA). This region gets very little rainfall in a year and hence has very scarce vegetation. And so, over a period of time plants and animals have evolved their own mechanisms for survival in inhospitable surroundings – they make do with very little water for survival. Such is the case with the kangaroo rat as well.

Kangaroo rats, small rodents of genus Dipodomys, are native to western North America.
Kangaroo rats, small rodents of genus Dipodomys, are native to western North America.

Water from roots and plants

It needs very little water to survive. Whatever little water it requires it gets by eating roots and desert plants. Desert plants serve as food and drink to this animal.

The kangaroo rat shows several remarkable qualities which makes it well suited for a life in the desert. Firstly, it has the ability to convert the dry seeds it eats into water.

Moreover, unlike other animals, this creature does not sweat or pant to keep cool. Its kidney is made such that it allows the kangaroo rat to excrete waste without losing much water.

If there ever was to be an award for the king of the desert, the kangaroo rat would surely win hands down.

283 words | 2 minutes
Readability: Grade 7 (12-13 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: 5ws and h
Tags: #america, #kangaroo, #deserts, #roots

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