President Theodore Roosevelt and his family were great animal lovers throughout their lives. The family had many dogs, horses, and cats, but they also owned less traditional pets – such as their 2 kangaroo rats.
These rats were quite tame, and could often be seen peeking out – or even sleeping – in shirt pockets of the Roosevelt children. They would often poke their heads out at mealtimes, and cause a stir in school by popping up to take a look around.
Kermit Roosevelt could most often be seen with at least one of the kangaroo rats in his pocket, and many times Kermit made it a point to bring them to meals to offer the rats a lump of sugar. His father never raised a brow, merely continued eating his own meal. But it’s likely Theodore Roosevelt was inured to such sights; after all, this family did have an awful lot of animals. Many of the Roosevelt pets were given almost free reign of the White House – so seeing a kangaroo rat at the breakfast table probably seemed tame.
If the 2 kangaroo rats had names, they have been lost to history. However, it is clear that during their time with the Roosevelts these 2 rats were well-loved members of the family.