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Kangaroo Rats Are Furry, Spring-Loaded Ninjas | Deep Look Video

September 25, 2020

Kangaroo rats use their exceptional hearing and powerful hind legs to jump clear of rattlesnakes — or even deliver a stunning kick in the face.

As they forage, kangaroo rats need to continually scan the surrounding sandy environment for any predators – foxes, owls, and snakes – that could be anywhere. Once a well-camouflaged sidewinder rattlesnake strikes, aiming its venomous fangs at the furry seed-harvester, the kangaroo rat springs up, and away from the snake’s deadly bite, kicking its powerful hind legs at the snake’s face, and using its long tail to twist itself in mid-air away from the snake to safety.

Kangaroo have the uncanny ability to jump high at just the right moment. Biologists believe that this most likely comes from its keen hearing, which is 90 times more sensitive than human ears, allowing the rats to react in as little as 50 milliseconds.

In addition to their finely-tuned ears, the desert kangaroo rats’ highly-evolved musculature generates lots of force very quickly, resulting in jumps almost ten times their body height.

Muscles in kangaroo rats have a thick tendon, surrounded by large muscles, which translates directly to more power and a faster reaction time. With its powerful hind limbs, the kangaroo rat is also able to deliver a “black belt” kick to the jaw of the rattlesnake, sending the rattlesnake soaring to the ground, before landing away from the snake.

This is another installment of the PBS Deep Look series. If no film or link appears in this email, go to the blog to view it by clicking on the blog title above. If the film stops & starts in an annoying manner, press pause (lower left double bars ||) to let it buffer and get ahead of you.   [Chuck Almdale]

3 Comments
  1. Lynn Bossone permalink
    September 30, 2020 11:28 am

    Thanks so much. Lynn Bossone

    On Fri 25. Sep 2020 at 05:13, SANTA MONICA BAY AUDUBON SOCIETY BLOG wrote:

    > > > > > > > Chukar posted: “Kangaroo rats use their exceptional hearing and powerful > hind legs to jump clear of rattlesnakes — or even deliver a stunning kick > in the face. > > > > As they forage, kangaroo rats need to continually scan the surrounding > sandy environment for any predators ” > > > >

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    • Chukar permalink*
      October 2, 2020 11:24 am

      You’re welcome Lynn.
      This Kangaroo Rat posting is one I scheduled on SMBAS Blog months ago. There’s a few more of these, then they’ll run out. All new postings like this are now on ChukarBlog.wordpress.com. I’ve already done about 30 postings there. Don’t forget to sign up.

      Like

  2. September 27, 2020 4:05 pm

    Fantastic video! Such amazing adaptions.

    Like

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