What You Can See on April 27

From Audubon’s Earth Almanac by Ted Williams and compiled in “Wild Moments,” edited by Connie Isbell, Illustrations by John Burgoyne, Storey Publishing, 174 pages. Barren-Land Bounder Under the more arid regions of our Southwest, in dens lined with plant material, kangaroo rats are giving birth, usually to two to four young. The animals you see now, almost always at night, are likely to be males. There are 22 species, many of them threatened or endangered because so much of their habitat has been developed or tilled. Like their namesakes, kangaroo rats propel themselves with well-developed hind legs, balancing with long tails. In some species the tails are longer than the bodies, and by swinging them the animals can change directions in midleap. As they exhale, kangaroo rats are able to recover water vapor through their nasal passages, and they can metabolize the water they need from seeds. So powerful are their kidneys that they require only a quarter of the water used by humans to excrete the same amount of urea.