29 August 2023

Fat Sand Rats – Fadhili

I visit a location near Fadhili each year to look for Fat Sand Rats and try to get some reasonable photos of them but I never succeed in getting close to them. I got to the location just after first light and saw a Fat Sand Rat at some distance. I saw at least seven animals during the morning from 05:30 – 07:30 when activity stopped. 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. At one stage I saw an animal climb a shrub and start feeding well off the ground.