How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask The Mystic Wave Your Own Question
The Mystic Wave
The Mystic Wave, Animal Activist/Healer
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 427
Experience:  Natural affinity for Animals. 36 yrs. exp. Natural Healing - Knowledge of Animal Symbology
Type Your Pet Question Here...
The Mystic Wave is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Does a kangaroo rat make a good childs pet

Customer Question

My son would like to take the offspring of our neighbor's kangaroo
rat for a pet. I've heard they are nocturnal - are they very active at
night? Do they need large cages? Where can I get information on how
to care for them? Is this a good idea in the first place...


Submitted: 13 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  The Mystic Wave replied 13 years ago.


There are 24 species of Kangaroo Rat - which did you have in mind? The San Bernadino Merriam's Kangaroo Rats are endangered, thus you may need a permit to keep, breed, etc.  I have listed below more information on this species of kangaroo rat, as well as on the banner-tailed kangaroo rat, and have listed other links (that describe other species) for your review: The banner-tailed kangaroo rat perfers to live in areas of open ground. 

The San Bernadino Merriam's Kangaroo Rat:

Common Name:  Rat - San Bernadino Kangaroo

Other Common Names:  San Bernadino Merriam's Kangaroo Rat

Scientific Name:  Dipodomys merriami parvus  (Full Taxonomy)


Origin or Range:  California

Relative Size:  Smaller Than Average  
    (as compared to other rodents)

Average Lifespan:  ??? year(s)

Compatibility:  Average   
    (as compared to other rodents)

Category:  Mammals » Rodents

Animal Description:  

The San Bernadino Kangaroo Rat is, sadly, only one of the endangered species of Kangaroo Rats. These animals, which can only be described as adorable, are environmentally useful in addition to being fun to observe in the wild. It would truly be a tragedy if they were to disappear forever.

Specially adapted to survive in hot environments, San Bernadino Kangaroo Rats are able to obtain much of their water requirements from their foods! They need very little water and rarely drink. They do not sweat, but stay underground to keep cool. Although San Bernadino Kangaroo Rats often eat seeds, they may also eat insects and green vegetation, depending on the seasonal availability of foods. They store seeds in their burrows, in compressed piles or in honeycomb-like pit systems. When San Bernadino Kangaroo Rats are in motion, they hop like kangaroos! Their tails are used as rudders, and kangaroo rats can change the direction they are moving in even in mid-air!

The San Bernadino Kangaroo Rats is the only coastal, southern California species of Kangaroo Rat that has four toes on each of its hind feet! Dark brown footpads are also present on all its feet. The tuft of hair on the end of its tail is dark brown, and it is striped with dark brown hair throughout its length. Most of the fur covering the San Bernadino Kangaroo Rat is a dark, dull yellow-brown color.

San Bernadino Kangaroo Rats are endangered because they have lost much of their habitats. They were placed on the United States of America's endangered list permanently in 1998. San Bernadino Kangaroo Rats are only found in the Riverside and San Bernadino counties of California. Although their habitat, known as alluvial sage scrub, once comprised 326,000 acres, it had been reduced to 28,000 acres by the 1930s. Today, San Bernadino Kangaroo Rats only occupy about 3,250 acres of their original range.

Specific Care Information: Relative Care Ease: Uncertain

Because San Bernadino Kangaroo Rats are endangered, you may need a permit to keep, breed, or sell them. They should be kept in a substrate that allows for extensive burrowing, and should be fed vegetation, seeds, and occasionally insects.

Breeding and Propagation: Relative Breeding Ease: Uncertain

There is currently no special breeding information in our databases for this animal. To submit breeding / propagation information that is specific to this animal please click here.

Click here to select another animal of the same type (Rodents).

Banner Tailed Kangaroo Rat:


  • The banner-tailed kangaroo rat is characterized by sitting upright and hopping at great speeds and distances.

  • It measures 12 to 14 inches long, and weighs 1 to 6 ounces.

  • The kangaroo rat has large hind feet with hairy soles that help it to jump in loose, soft sand; small hairless ears with an extra middle ear chamber that enhances night sounds; and an oversized head with large eyes that provide good night vision.

  • The kangaroo rat's tail is longer than its head and body. Covered with fur; the tail acts as a balance when the rat makes long hops. It has black stripes and a white tuft on the end.

  • The kangaroo rat is dark buff above and pale below, with distinct facial markings. A white band of fur usually crosses its hips from the base of its tail.

  • It has an oil-secreting gland back between its shoulders.

  • The kangaroo rat's range covers southeastern Arizona, most of New Mexico and west Texas.

  • It inhabits arid and semiarid regions with some brush or grass.

  • Kangaroo rats prefer to live in areas of open ground that provide them with unobstructed views of the surroundings, and with plenty of room to move quickly from one place to another.

  • Primarily granivorous, the kangaroo rat survives on many species of grass seeds.

  • Kangaroo rats usually dig their burrows in well-drained, easily worked soil. An elaborate set of entrances and trails lead from one burrow to another; from the outside, the burrows resemble large mounds.

  • Kangaroo rats pass their burrows down from one generation to the next.

  • Solitary and nocturnal, the kangaroo rat only ventures out of its burrow from about 9 p.m. to 3 p.m., when temperatures are cooler and there is a minimum of evaporation, to gather and store seeds.

  • The male kangaroo rat's home range is less than 1/2 acre, and the female's is smaller.

  • Females produce two to three litters yearly with two to five offspring each.

  • Kangaroo rats live for about five years.

  • The kangaroo rat travels by hopping on its hind legs; it uses its forelegs only when going very short distances; when speed is necessary, each hop may be 6 1/2 feet in length.

  • It can survive with very little water due to its high metabolism. The kangaroo rat converts ingested dry seeds into water; it doesn't sweat or pant to keep cool, rather elongated nasal passages cool its breath, allowing the recapture of moisture. In addition, the kangaroo rat has specialized kidneys that enable it to dispose of waste materials without losing much water.

  • Leaping is the kangaroo rat's main defense against predators. It also sometimes rapidly kicks sand in the face of an attacker.

  • The kangaroo rat must bathe in dust. When denied dust bathing, it develops sores on its body and its fur becomes matted from oily back secretions.

  • The kangaroo rat has fur-lined pockets in its cheeks, which it uses to carry seeds back to its burrow for eating and stashing. It can hold up to 900 small seeds in its cheek pouches at once.

  • When yanked, the long, bushy end on the kangaroo rat's tail breaks away and does not grow back.

  • When excited, the kangaroo rat thumps its hind feet on the ground, a behavior called foot drumming. Foot drumming is composed of distinct patterns communicating many different messages. The kangaroo rat may use it to signal family and friends of imminent danger, to attract a mate's attention, to challenge or intimate another kangaroo rat over territory, or to ward off predators.

  • Kangaroo rats also communicate with high-pitched "pees," as well as by growling, squeaking, squealing and chuckling.

  • Kangaroo rats are preyed on by badgers, kit foxes, coyotes, bobcats, owls, large snakes and humans.

  • Modern agricultural practices and land development have destroyed substantial sections of the kangaroo rat's habitat.

  • Kangaroo rats can jump as far as 10 feet and change direction immediately upon landing.

Animal Planet :: Corwin's Carnival of Creatures (Banner Tailed)

Other links:

Ord's Kangaroo Rat

Giant kangaroo rat - Dipodomys ingens: More Information - ARKive

If you wish for further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Bright Blessings.

Peace, Love & Happiness,

The Mystic Wave