• Lower Cliff Dwelling

    Tonto

    National Monument Arizona

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  • Visitor Center is closed

    The Visitor Center and bookstore will be closed for several weeks for construction. A temporary Visitor Center will be set up in the parking lot. The trail to the Lower Cliff Dwelling will be open during this period. No entrance fees will be collected. More »

Merriam's kangaroo rat

Merriam's kangaroo rat

Merriam's kangaroo rat

NPS Photo

Merriam's Kangaroo Rat
Dipodomys merriami

Body length: 5 - 6"
Diet: Seeds and some greens

Kangaroo rats are perfectly suited to desert life. Through behaviors and physiological processes which keep them from losing body moisture, they can survive without ever drinking fresh water. Small amounts of water are derived from foods such as seeds and green vegetation. Like many desert animals these rodents are almost entirely nocturnal, spending the day in burrows.

Though unrelated to kangaroos, kangaroo rats hop about on oversized hind feet, much like their Australian namesakes. Kangaroo rats also have pouches, though they are located in their cheeks, not bellies, and are used for carrying seeds, not babies. Merriam's kangaroo rats are uncommon at Tonto National Monument. They prefer relatively flat, sandy areas with little vegetation, as occur north of Route 188 near Roosevelt Lake.

Did You Know?

hillside with wildflowers

Spring can be a very colorful season at Tonto National Monument, but when will the wildflowers bloom? Rain is needed throughout the winter, and warm days are a good indicator of a full bloom ahead. If you miss the peak flowering season, remember that you’ve also missed the peak crowds. More...