California Mouse

The California Mouse (Peromyscus californicus), found in southern California and north-western Mexico is the largest Peromyscus species in the United States.

It has a hairy tail, longer than the head and body combined, and very large ears.It is usually brown, peppered with black hairs and has a creamy-white belly with white feet.Diet consists of shrub fruits, seeds, flowers and grasses from chaparral and sage scrub communities.

Illustration of the California Mouse

Illustration of the California Mouse (Peromyscus Californicus)

California Mouse (Peromyscus californicus) is Native to California

California Mouse

Reproductive BehaviorsThe mating habits of the California mouse are unique in comparison to other rodents.While most rodents are polygamous (multiple mating partners), the California mouse is monogamous, bonding with one mate.Because the males help raise the young, their presence increases the chance of survival for the whole family.Females nurse their young longer than other species, weaning them at around 5 weeks.Mated mice may produce as many as six litters per year (two babies each) and have an adult lifespan of 9 – 18 months.HabitatThe California mouse is rarely considered a pest since its habitat is desert and coastal chaparral.Nests are built on top of the ground under branches of shrubs and are insulated with dry grasses, weeds, and sticks.For comfort, fine grass is used as bedding in the center of the nests.

Coastal Sagebrush

Coastal Sagebrush, home to the California mouse.

ReferencesSmithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals, “California Mouse.” www.mnh.si.edu
Schoenherr, Allan A. 1991. A Natural History of California. Berkeley: University of California Press.SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

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