Grasshopper Mouse Facts
- The Grasshopper Mouse serves as the collective name for all of three separate and distinct, and rather surprising, species of mice.
- This fascinating small rodent also prefers to inhabit the abandoned burrows of other animals, such as prairie dogs or kangaroo rats.
- The creature will, however, construct its own burrows if forced to do so because it cannot find an abandoned one from a prior resident.
- Though the three varieties of this animal strongly resemble the common household mouse, genetically, the relationship remains quite distant.
Grasshopper Mouse Physical Description
The startling Grasshopper Mouse also represents a roughly average size rodent. However, this particular species displays no apparent signs of sexual dimorphism.
Individuals also average roughly 5 in (13 cm) in body length, though exceptional specimens may grow to a somewhat greater body length.
In addition, the tail of this rodent, which grows rather thin, often reaches lengths equal to or even slightly greater than that of the body itself.
Further, an average weight equals only 1.7 oz (49 grams). In color, it typically displays gray to reddish brown on top and white on the underbelly.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Rodentia
- Family: Cricetidae
- Genus: Onychomys
Grasshopper Mouse Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Grasshopper Mouse either evolved or adapted to arid and semi-arid habitats within North America. As a result, its territory extends from portions of central Mexico to central Canada, and it typically prefers dry grasslands and desert regions.
All three varieties of this small animal live as terrestrial and nocturnal in nature.
It remains predominantly carnivorous in its diet, yet individuals do consume smaller quantities of seeds on occasion, to supplement the diet. Its principal prey consists of beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, and scorpions.
The animal also actually evolved an immunity to the venom of many poisonous prey and predators alike. The Grasshopper Mouse also has a highly aggressive and territorial personality.
Unique among small rodents, it actually vocalizes, with a small howl. It uses this to communicate and it is actually audible to humans. Many who hear it compare it to a low pitched coyote howl.