Cactus mouse in exhibit

Cactus Mouse

Scientific Name

Peromyscus eremicus

Class

Mammalia

Order

Rodentia

Range

Southwestern United States, northern Mexico, and surrounding islands

Habitat

Rocky deserts and shrublands

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
Cactus mouse in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

Cactus mice average three inches in length and live in burrows and rock crevices in their desert habitat. These nocturnal mammals range in color from gray to cinnamon and have large black eyes that help them see at night. They are quick, agile climbers and predominatly forage for seeds, insects, and vegetation. Their colonies usually breed from January–October. Litters range from one to four offspring, and females can have up to six per year.

Interesting Fact 1

When temperatures rise during the day, cactus mice lower their metabolism and enter a state of physical inactivity that allows them to survive on very little water.

Interesting Fact 2

These mice use their small size and speed to quickly scale rock walls and trees to evade predators, such as owls and rattlesnakes.

Interesting Fact 3

They primarily feed on seeds of various desert annuals, mesquite beans, hackberry nutlets, insects, and green vegetation. When rain is infrequent, they consume succulent plants as a source of water.

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