21 October 2022

Fat Sand Rats - Khursaniyah

As one of my daughters wanted to see Fat Sand Rat and she was in Kingdom on summer holidays we set off at 03:00 hrs to try to see some in their noral haunt of Khursaniyah. We got there just as it was becoming light and before any animal activity and positioned the car in a place where we could hopefully see some. As it started to become light, I saw a Fat Sand Rat in a burrow reasonably close and we got some good views as it started to clean its burrow of loose sand. I then saw one quite close in a hole but it disappeared as soon as I saw it and photos of it were not possible. We saw at least seven animals during the morning from 04:30 – 07:00 when activity stopped. We looked around the area after activity stopped and found a couple of newly dug burrows closer to the road in a slightly different area so next time I go back I will see if animals are using these as if they are photographs should be possible and closer. Its diet consists of leaves and stems that they hold with one 'hand' and often wipe before eating and, unlike high-energy seeds, these foods are rather low in energy. As a result, it has to eat around 80 percent of its body weight in food each day to obtain sufficient energy. The fat sand rat does not need to drink water, a useful adaptation in arid habitats, and instead can get all the water it needs by feeding on the leaves of the saltbush which are up to 90 percent water and licking morning dew.