The pale kangaroo mouse is strictly nocturnal (1) (4) (5), only venturing out during the cooler desert nights, and it is extremely sensitive to light (5). A noticeable burst of activity occurs just after sundown (1) (6), and throughout the night the pale kangaroo mouse forages for food away from shrub cover (4) (6). This rodent species moves about its habitat in leaps and bounds, using its strong hind limbs to propel it forwards and its tail for balance (4) (5).
The diet of the pale kangaroo mouse consists mainly of seeds (1) (3) (4) (5) (6), but it also eats a variety of insects (1) (4) (5) (6), particularly during the summer months (5). Seeds collected during a foraging outing are carried back to the burrow in the pale kangaroo mouse’s external cheek pouches (4), and then stored in a cache within the burrow (1).
Interestingly, the pale kangaroo mouse also stores food as body fat within the bulge in the centre of its tail, a unique feature among small mammals native to North America (4). This fat deposit enlarges during the summer and is then used as an energy source during the colder months (4) (5). Amazingly, the pale kangaroo mouse does not need to drink water to survive. Instead, it obtains the moisture it requires from its food (4) (5), and conserves water by producing concentrated urine and dry faeces (4).
The pale kangaroo mouse lives in a simple burrow (4) (5), which it excavates in soft, wind-blown sand (1). The entrance is usually located near a shrub (4) (5). It is in this burrow that the young are born, with breeding occurring throughout the summer (4). Between two and seven young are born per litter (1) (4) (5) (6), and the female pale kangaroo mouse can produce more than one litter per breeding season (3) (4) (5) (6).
The hibernation patterns of the pale kangaroo mouse are not fully understood. Its close relative the dark kangaroo mouse is known to hibernate from November to March during the harsh, cold winter (4), but the pale kangaroo mouse may only hibernate for a few days at a time (1).