Meet the Texas kangaroo rat.
The adorable furry critter, found in parts of North Texas, is yellowish-brown with a white belly and long hind feet good for jumping. It has large eyes, tiny ears and a tuft of white fur that punctuates the end of its long tail.
It’s also at risk of going extinct.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services is proposing designating the Texas kangaroo rat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, according to an Aug. 16 news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The federal agency is also considering designating nearly 600,000 acres in Childress, Cottle, Hardeman, Wichita and Wilbarger counties as a critical habitat to conserve the small, nocturnal mammal.
“The Texas kangaroo rat depends on native prairie and grassland habitat, but historical land use change has negatively impacted the availability of this habitat in the species’ range,” said Omar Bocanegra, supervisory fish and wildlife biologist with the service’s Arlington Ecological Services Field Office, in a statement. “With this proposal, our goal is to conserve the species by protecting its remaining populations and promoting habitat management practices that favor its survival.”
Establishing a critical habitat area does not affect land ownership and does not create a refuge or preserve for the animal, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.
The agency is accepting public comment on its proposal to add the Texas kangaroo rat to the endangered species list and the critical habitat designation through Oct. 16.
The Texas Kangaroo rat has been found in 11 Texas counties, including Archer, Baylor, Childress, Clay, Cottle, Foard, Hardeman, Montague, Motley, Wichita and Wilbarger, as well as in two Oklahoma counties, Comanche and Cotton.