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Cactus Mouse Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Peromyscus eremicus
  • Class

  • Order

  • Range

    Desert areas of southwestern United States, northern Mexico and several nearby islands

  • Status

    The species is common throughout its range.

  • Habitat

    Cactus mice are restricted almost entirely to a desert habitat, especially where rocky outcrops or cliffs provide retreats and den sites.

  • Niche

    Their food is largely seeds of various desert annuals, mesquite beans, hackberry nutlets, insects and green vegetation. Succulent plants provide water in areas where rain is infrequent.

  • Life History

    Breeding in cactus mice colonies occurs from January–October and sometimes year-round. Litter sizes average one–four offspring, and females may have up to four litters per year. Young cactus mice are born with ears and eyes closed but develop rapidly. The species' average life span is 1 year.

  • Special Adaptations

    Cactus mice, like many desert mammals, aestivate when temperatures rise during the day: they lower their metabolism and enter a state of torpor that allows them to survive on very little water. They're also fast for their size and can scale rock walls and trees—a trait that helps them evade predators like owls and rattlesnakes.


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