Rare jumping mice discovered In this July 24, 2013 photograph, a meadow jumping mouse stands on the edge of a container while being released at Rollins Savanna in Grayslake, Ill. (AP Photo/Scott Eisen/Stacey Stanford/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP, File)
Rare jumping mice discovered
Lexile

Biologists who spent weeks in three New Mexico national forests searching for signs of an elusive, endangered mouse that looks somewhat like a tiny kangaroo have found what they call irrefutable evidence that it still lives in the state for which it is named.
 
The biologists trapped New Mexico meadow jumping mice and collected fur and fecal samples during summertime surveys in the southern Lincoln National Forest, the northern Santa Fe National Forest and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests along the New Mexico-Arizona border, Beth Humphrey, a district ranger with the U.S. Forest Service, said. They had not been seen for years in those places.
 
With a tail that makes up for most of its length, the rodent is called a jumping mouse because it can leap more than two feet into the air when frightened. Super-long tails help the mice keep their balance, especially when they scale plant stems to reach ripening seeds, one of their main food sources.
 
The New Mexico meadow jumping mouse was listed as an endangered species in 2014, prompting the U.S. Forest Service to fence off streams and watering holes in the Lincoln and Santa Fe forests to protect habitat thought to be ideal. That spurred criticism from ranchers and others that the federal government was trampling private access to public lands in New Mexico.
 
Small populations of New Mexico meadow jumping mice have been found previously in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.
 
But last summer's surveys turned up the first hard evidence that they still live in areas where they had not been spotted in years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in an emailed statement.
 
The discoveries provide "hope that this species can recover over a period of time," said Humphrey, who works in New Mexico's Sacramento Mountains.
 
Humphrey said her district will collect public comments this fall on proposals for long-term strategies aimed at trying to protect and boost New Mexico meadow jumping mouse populations.
 
The mice live near streams and depend on tall grass to hide from predators. They hibernate for about nine months, emerging in the late spring to gorge themselves before mating, giving birth and going back into hibernation. They normally live three years.
 
Jack Williams, a wildlife biologist based in the Sacramento Mountains, said the mouse is difficult to trap. His crew surveyed five sites over six weeks and set more than 5,000 traps.
 
Biologists blame drought, wildfires, flooding and grazing in the habitat of the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse for the rodent's declining numbers.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 51 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why were the mice difficult to find?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (45)
  • michaelk3-bri
    11/08/2016 - 09:42 a.m.

    Because they were so small, and were in small populations too.

  • yuviam-bri
    11/08/2016 - 09:43 a.m.

    I think the reason why the mouse is so to find is because if its short lifespan and also because it hibernates for more than half the month. "They hibernate for about nine months, emerging in the late spring to gorge themselves before mating, giving birth and going back into hibernation. They normally live three years." This statement in the story might be a reason why its so hard to find.

  • joannar1-bri
    11/08/2016 - 09:45 a.m.

    The mice were difficult to find because there were very few left.

  • alexisj-bri
    11/08/2016 - 09:51 a.m.

    They are so small and fast that they could easly slip right past you and you wont know. With a tail that makes up for most of its length, the rodent is called a jumping mouse because it can leap more than two feet into the air when frightened. Super-long tails help the mice keep their balance, especially when they scale plant stems to reach ripening seeds, one of their main food sources. Thast how they were so difficult to find.

  • carsonw1-bri
    11/08/2016 - 10:05 a.m.

    The mice were diffucult to find, because they are so small and fast and are endangered species. According to the text above, " jumping mouse was listed as an endangered species in 2014."

  • paytonb-bri
    11/08/2016 - 10:27 a.m.

    they wernt very common.

  • isaacr-bri
    11/08/2016 - 10:42 a.m.

    cause they are tiny and can blend in

  • moricek-bri
    11/08/2016 - 10:43 a.m.

    The mice were difficult to find was because they are smalland they live neer streams and depend on tall grass."The mice live near streams and depend on tall grass to hide from predators."
    There is a reason why it is hard to find the New Mexico meadow jumping mice.

  • damianv-bri
    11/08/2016 - 10:49 a.m.

    becues there so small

  • damianv-bri
    11/08/2016 - 10:50 a.m.

    because they are so small

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT