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
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Biologists spent weeks in three New Mexico national forests searching for signs of an elusive, endangered mouse that looks somewhat like a tiny kangaroo. They say they have found what they call irrefutable evidence that it still lives in the state for which it is named.
 
The biologists have trapped New Mexico meadow jumping mice. The biologists collected fur and fecal samples. This occurred 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. This news is according to Beth Humphrey. She is a district ranger with the U.S. Forest Service. The jumping mice had not been seen for years in those places.
 
The mouse has a tail that makes up most of its length. It 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. This is especially when they scale plant stems to reach ripening seeds. The seeds are one of their main food sources.
 
The New Mexico meadow jumping mouse was listed as an endangered species in 2014. It prompted the U.S. Forest Service to fence off streams and watering holes in the Lincoln and Santa Fe forests to protect habitat. 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 in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.
 
Last summer's surveys turned up the first hard evidence that they still live in areas where they had not been spotted in years. That's according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in an emailed statement.
 
The discoveries provide "hope that this species can recover over a period of time," said Humphrey. She works in New Mexico's Sacramento Mountains.
 
Humphrey said her district will collect public comments this fall on proposals for long-term strategies. They would be aimed at trying to protect and boost New Mexico meadow jumping mouse populations.
 
The mice live near streams. They depend on tall grass to hide from predators. They hibernate for about nine months. Then they emerge in the late spring to gorge themselves before mating, giving birth and going back into hibernation. They normally live three years.
 
Jack Williams is a wildlife biologist. He is based in the Sacramento Mountains. He said the mouse is difficult to trap. His crew surveyed five sites over six weeks. More than 5,000 traps were set.
 
Why are there so few of the jumping mice?  Biologists blame drought, wildfires, flooding and grazing in the habitat of the New Mexico meadow.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why were the mice difficult to find?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (70)
  • susieo-coo-coo
    11/08/2016 - 09:08 a.m.

    Why are mice so hard to find. You'd think that it would be easy to find a mouse. The more mice a person finds the less mice we have. The mice are also an endangered species and are really close to dissapering. Seeing a mouse is the best thing ever when you see one. So to see a mouse is really rare and why they are so hard to find.

  • tylerb-1-coo
    11/08/2016 - 09:09 a.m.

    This mice are very hard to find, due of size and rare things. If you want to find mice at farm. it was very hard to find small mice. the rare mice is very hard to find cause it was endangered mice at large habit for the mice.

  • jamariw-orv
    11/08/2016 - 11:43 a.m.

    i though this was interesting not because it leaps but just because its a mouse and i have never thought of that

  • tylers531-stu
    11/08/2016 - 03:01 p.m.

    they are difficult to find because they are small and they could blend in with the ground easly

  • charliet-orv
    11/08/2016 - 04:12 p.m.

    Because they are so small and agile it would be hard to see them.

  • brookeambrose-bak
    11/08/2016 - 08:38 p.m.

    Wow!!! Thats crazy ...and sort of weird.

  • sharona-bur
    11/09/2016 - 10:15 a.m.

    It was hard to find the mice because the habitat was in New Mexico.

  • jahir-orv
    11/10/2016 - 11:51 a.m.

    I believe that finding these new species of animals is a sign of human evolution

  • halliet-cel
    11/10/2016 - 12:11 p.m.

    they were difficult to find because they are so tiny. They depend on tall grass to hide and hibernate for 9 months. The mice are a brownish color aka basically camouflage so on top of being extremely tiny they blend in with their surroundings.

  • jadenr1-har
    11/10/2016 - 01:33 p.m.

    The mice are hard to find because they are small.They are going in different country and states.They are already endangered and they are probably not a lot of mice.They also can jump so that can make it difficult to find.Another one is their have not looked in all the place yet.

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