Many documents (e.g., this, this, and this) state kangaroo rats are special because they can use water produced by metabolism. Is the metabolism of kangaroo rats more efficient in producing water than that of other organisms?

Or the metabolism mechanism of kangaroo rats is the same as other organisms, but kangaroo rats can subsist with little water produced by metabolism because they conserve water from various mechanisms?


1 Answer 1


Various adaptations help desert animals survive in dry and hot environments. These adaptations are not specific to Kangeroo rats in particular.

From Wikipedia :

Metabolic water refers to water created inside a living organism through their metabolism, by oxidizing energy-containing substances in their food. Animal metabolism produces about 100 grams of water per 100 grams of fat, 42 grams of water per 100 g of protein and 60 grams of water per 100 g of carbohydrate.

Some organisms, especially xerocoles, animals living in the desert, rely exclusively on metabolic water. Migratory birds must rely exclusively on metabolic water production while making non-stop flights. Humans, by contrast, obtain only about 8-10% of their water needs through metabolic water production.

In mammals, the water produced from metabolism of protein roughly equals the amount needed to excrete the urea which is a byproduct of the metabolism of protein. Birds, however, excrete uric acid and can have a net gain of water from the metabolism of protein.

Also see Xerocoles - Water Conservation


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