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  The Mammals of Texas - Online Edition

Gulf Coast Kangaroo Rat
Order Rodentia : Family Heteromyidae : Dipodomys compactus True

Description. A five-toed, medium-sized kangaroo rat; tail relatively short; pelage short and coarse; upperparts range in coloration from grayish to light ochraceous-buff intermixed with black; cheeks white and soles of feet and dorsal and ventral tail stripes brownish. Similar in appearance to D. ordii but with shorter tail; shorter and coarser pelage; and less brownish in coloration. D. compactus is smaller than D. ordii cranially, particularly in length of skull and size of mastoid bullae. External measurements average: total length, 223 mm; tail, 118 mm; hind foot, 36 mm. Weight, 44-60 g. Dental formula as in Perognathus flavescens.

Species distribution mapDistribution in Texas. Known from most of South Texas north to Bexar and Gonzales counties; also known from Mustang and Padre Islands.

Habits. The Gulf Coast kangaroo rat inhabits sandy, sparsely vegetated soils. On Padre Island they dwell among the shifting dunes of the barrier reef and in South Texas are often found on disturbed or overgrazed areas characterized by sparse, open vegetation and deep, loose sand.

Their food consists of the seeds of grasses, annuals, and shrubs. Specific food habits are not known.

Reproductive habits are not well known. A pregnant female containing two embryos was captured on 23 August, and another female taken on 6 July displayed two placental scars.

Remarks. In previous editions this kangaroo rat has been considered conspecific with D. ordii; however, recent taxonomic work has produced enough evidence to identify D. compactus as a separate species.