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Giant Kangaroo Rat

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Giant Kagaroo RatLegal Status: Federal Endangered Species / California Endangered Species

Range: Scattered populations from San Benito and Fresno Counties south to eastern Santa Barbara County
Habitat: Prefers native grasslands and shrublands
Size: Body approximately 6 inches long with an 8-inch tail

The giant kangaroo rat is the largest of the kangaroo rat species. These territorial mammals live in colonies on gentle slopes at the base of hills in established burrows. Primarily active at night, kangaroo rats gather seeds, which they store at the entrance to their burrow for later retrieval. Once abundant throughout its range, the giant kangaroo rat has declined due to agricultural prac- tices since the 1960s.

General Protection Measures:

  • Prohibit any activity near active burrows during the breeding season (January to May).
  • Define and respect clear work area limits.
  • Do not disturb, capture, handle, or move kangaroo rats or their burrows.
  • Report all dead or injured animals to the proper authorities immediately.
  • Prohibit pets on the job site.
  • Do not use rodenticides.
  • Do not litter.
  • Implement project-specific measures as required by state and federal agencies.

Giant kangaroo rats and their habitat are pro- tected by both the Federal and California Endangered Species Acts. Consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game before performing any work in habitat for this protected species. Penalties for harming or harassing these mammals can include up to $100,000 in fines and/or one year in jail.


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