Detection of reproductive status from chemical signals at sandbathing loci was examined in Merriam's kangaroo rat. Castrated and intact males were attracted similarly to the sandbathing loci of four classes of scent donors: intact males, castrated males, estrous females, and nonestrous females. This suggested that reproductive status was not communicated to males at sandbathing loci. In a control test, castrated males were attracted to disturbed sand that contained no olfactory cues whereas intact males were not. Castration caused a significant decrease in the size of a specialized sebaceous gland on the dorsum. Castration did not affect total pelage lipids, however, indicating that lipid-producing cells have a baseline level of secretion that is necessary for pelage maintenance.