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Local animals in this group:

beavers, gophers, kangaroo rats, and relatives


There are about 96 species of beavers, gophers, kangaroo rats, and relatives in the world. All but one species are found only in North and Central America and into the northernmost parts of South America. The Eurasian beaver is the only species that is found in Europe.

Although the most well-known species in this group are the American and Eurasian beavers, most of the species in this group are kangaroo rats, pocket mice, and gophers - which are mainly found in western North America and Central America. These rodents all have fur-lined cheek pouches that they use for transporting food. Gophers are medium-sized rodents specialized for digging underground. They spend most of their lives in their underground tunnels and nests, eating roots and plant leaves. Kangaroo rats and pocket mice mainly live in dry areas. They are specialized for jumping and their long tails and large hind feet make them look like miniature kangaroos. They eat seeds and sometimes insects.


Tanya Dewey (author), Animal Diversity Web.

University of Michigan Museum of ZoologyNational Science Foundation

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Dewey, T. . "Castorimorpha" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 27, 2024 at

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
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