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Species at Risk - A guide to Canada's species at risk in the Prairie Provinces – March 2014


Ord's Kangaroo Rat

Dipodomys ordii

Photo of Ord's Kangaroo Rat
Photo: © David Gummer, Courtesy of the Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, Alberta
Long description for Ord's Kangaroo Rat photo

This is a photo of Ord’s Kangaroo Rat. It is a small, light coloured rodent with a white belly, long tail and large hind feet, sitting with its front feet up. It is sitting on sand and is surrounded by few plants.

Length including tail:
260 mm (10.2 inches)
Body weight:
69 g (2.4 ounces)


Ord’s kangaroo rats are small nocturnal rodents with large hind legs and feet and long tufted tails. They are well adapted to desert environments, spending most of the day in underground burrows and foraging for seeds at night. These rodents depend on open and sparsely vegetated habitats such as active sand dunes and sandy hills that occur in southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan.

Did you know?

  • Its common name comes from its kangaroo-like hind legs and hopping style of locomotion; they are able to jump as far as 2 m in a single leap.
  • Kangaroo rats use shallow hibernation to conserve energy during the harsh Canadian winter, but most don’t survive until the spring.
Ord's Kangaroo Rat map
Ord's Kangaroo Rat map
Long description for Ord's Kangaroo Rat map

This image is a map of the distribution of Ord’s Kangaroo Rat in south eastern Alberta and south western Saskatchewan. The map indicates they are found in the eastern portion of Canadian Forces Base Suffield, extending north to the South Saskatchewan River, in Alberta. In Saskatchewan they are in the Great Sandhills, located west of Swift Current,  in the south west SK.

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Swift Fox

Vulpes velox

Photo of Swift Fox
Photo: © Lu Carbyn
Long description for Swift Fox photo

This is a photo of a Swift Fox in a grassy field. The slender swift fox is standing alert with its large pointed ears and bushy tail. The fur of the fox has many colours; along the top of the head and back the fur is darkest with grey flecked with white, on the sides of the face, belly and legs the fur is a lighter orange colour. The lightest fur is white and runs along the chin, chest and inner portions of the legs. The face has a very distinctive dark black teardrop that goes from the inner corner of each eye down the side of the nose. The tail also has a distinctive dark black tip.

Height at shoulder:
30-32 cm (12-13 inches).
Length (including tail):
77-80 cm (30-32 inches)


Swift foxes are about the same size as jack rabbits or large house cats. Their small size and black-tipped tail distinguish them from red foxes. Their dens are usually on hills near water bodies, and they roam in the open prairie in search of grasshoppers, small mammals and dead animals.

Did you know?

  • Named for their remarkable speed, this slender member of the canine family can run faster than 60 km/hr.
  • Once completely extirpated from Canada, the swift fox is making a come-back thanks to a successful re-introduction program and on-going support from landowners.
Swift Fox map
Swift Fox map
Long description for Swift Fox map

This image is a map of the distribution of Swift Fox in south eastern Alberta and south western Saskatchewan. It shows the distribution is continuous in the grasslands between Milk River, Alberta and approximately Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, extending from the US border north nearly to Maple Creek.

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Western Harvest Mouse

Riethrodontomys megalotis dychei

Photo of Western Harvest Mouse
Photo: © Robin Bloom
Long description for Western Harvest Mouse photo

This is a photo of a Western Harvest Mouse, showing mostly its face. It is perched amongst the green leaves of a bush, sitting in the stippled shade. The mouse has large ears and big dark eyes. It is light brown in colour with a white underbelly.

136 mm (half of which is tail)
11 g


The Western harvest mouse is one of the smallest mammals inhabiting the Prairies. It is a long-tailed brownish mouse with a light underbelly and white feet. It is similar in appearance to juvenile deer mice, but deer mice are greyer in colour. Western harvest mice are omnivorous, nocturnal, and can be found in shrub-steppe habitats that contain extensive cover. They make nests at the base of shrubs by weaving together grasses to create shelter for themselves.

Did you know?

  • Its common name comes from its habit of “harvesting” grasses and leaving them in piles along vole runs.
  • Prior to 1994, this subspecies had only been documented three times in Canada.
Western Harvest Mouse map
Western Harvest Mouse map
Long description for Western Harvest Mouse map

This is a map of the distribution of the Western Harvest Mouse. It is only found in the eastern portion of the Canadian Forces Base Suffield, Alberta.

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