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Cactus Deermouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Mammals Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Tail is dark above and light below, but the dark fades into the light without a distinct boundary.

The Cactus Deermouse (Peromyscus eremicus) is often the most common "deer mouse" or "field mouse" in the Mojave Desert. Cactus Deermice live in lower elevation vegetation communities in the Lower (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zones. They build nests under rocks, in old burrows of other animals, and in piles of dead vegetation. They sleep during the day and come out to forage on seeds and vegetation during the night. They also eat bugs and carrion when they can, and they happily raid camper's food.

Cactus Deermice are preyed upon by everything: snakes, owls, kit fox, large scorpions, lizards, and anything else that can catch them. They have high reproductive rates (lots of litters and lots of pups per litter), so they survive high predation rates.

Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Dorsum is uniformly brown (no dorsal stripe)

Cactus Deermice look like all of the other "deer mice" (members of the genus Peromyscus) and can be difficult to identify with certainty. For the lay person, passing them off as "field mice" is good enough.

For those concerned, consults range maps to ensure that this species is a possibility in the area, then rule out other possibilities by examining the ears and tail.

Around Las Vegas, the possibilities are Cactus Deermouse, Canyon Deermouse, Deer Deermouse, and Pinyon Deermouse.

In the Cactus Deermouse, the ears are short, which rules out Pinyon Deermouse (ears more than 1 inch long). The tail is bi-colored, but the line between the dark and light is indistinct, ruling out North American Deermouse (distinct line). The tail is scantly clad with hairs, and the hairs on the tip of the tail are short (extending only 2-4 mm beyond the tip of the tail), ruling out Canyon Deermouse (which have hairy tails and the hairs extend about 8 mm beyond the tip of the tail).

Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)

All deer mice, including Cactus Deermice, carry Hanta Virus, a potentially deadly disease that attacks the respiratory system with flu-like symptoms. Despite the hysteria, however, it is difficult to contract Hanta virus. I have handled thousands of Peromyscus, often in less than sanitary conditions, and I've never gotten sick or died from Hanta virus.

Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)

This species is recognized by the short hairs on the tip of the trail (Canyon Deermice have long hairs).

Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus) This little criminal was raiding the food in my truck, so I captured and relocated it a few miles away. It appears that she would rather stay put than venture into her new home.
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus) Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
The belly is white
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
The back is uniformly brown (no dark dorsal stripe).
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Juvenile (gray) Cactus Deermouse
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Juvenile (gray) Cactus Deermouse
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Juvenile (gray) Cactus Deermouse
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Juvenile (gray) Cactus Deermouse
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Notice nearly naked tail
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Notice nearly naked tail
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Juvenile (gray) Cactus Deermouse
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Cactus Deermouse
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Cactus Deermouse
Cactus Mouse (Peromyscus eremicus)
Cactus Deermouse

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 121003

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