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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 09, 2021

California Mouse: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

California mouse facts range from their breeding process to physical appearance.

California mouse (Peromyscus californicus) is one of the most abundant rodents in the world. This species of mice is mainly found in the Southwestern United States. This mouse belongs to the class of mammals and is very adaptive; hence it has spread to many parts of the world. They can live in areas that are dry or wet but not humid. In their native habitat, these mice prefer to build their nests near water sources and can be found near streams or rivers.

California mice are about 5 in (12.7 cm) long on average, with large ears that cover their eyes when they're not standing up. These features help them avoid predators by hearing them before they see them. Their predators include feral snakes, hawks, and owls. These creatures play an important role in balancing the ecosystem as they are prey to some higher-level organisms.

California mice are also called California deer mice, and interestingly these rodents are amongst the very few of the monogamous rodents. The California mouse has a very diverse diet and is commonly found in urbanized areas. It tends to avoid human contact and will even run from humans at times. Here are some facts you should know before you spot one.

If you are intrigued with such fascinating animals and want to read more about such unique species, then you may explore dormouse and harvest mouse facts.

California Mouse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a California mouse?

California mice are very adaptive rodents that belong to the family of Cricetidae. Moreover, in the United States, they are the largest Peromyscus creature to exist.

What class of animal does a California mouse belong to?

California mice belong to the class of Mammals, where they are the only species in the group of P. californicus and the genus Peromyscus.

How many California mice are there in the world?

This mouse species is excellent at adapting to surroundings and has spread to many parts of the world. In spite of the predation and unhealthy human practices, their population is healthy and safe mainly because of their enigmatic existence. They mostly move around during the night time that is, they are nocturnal, which is another reason for their population's stability. However, no appropriate population evaluation has been conducted until now.

Where does a California mouse live?

California mouse (Peromyscus californicus) is predominantly located in northwestern Mexico, eastern parts of Sierra Nevada, central to southern California, and along to the south of the San Francisco Bay. They are not really good at burrowing, so they usually live in burrows or dens made by woodrats or other animals.

What is a California mouse's habitat?

California mouse (Peromyscus californicus) is a rodent found in the dense evergreen shrubs and woodland in its geographic range. They live in a variety of habitats apart from this, including forests, grasslands, deserts, and urban areas. Yet, for this mouse species, there is a significant disadvantage. As they are poor natural burrowers, they need to look for naturally occurring burrows in their habitat range.

Who does California mice live with?

The California mouse (P. californicus) has a sedentary behavior; however, they form small family groups. As they are monogamous, they have one single partner, so their family consists of offspring, a female and a male parent. Mostly, they are arboreal species that are docile in nature, but at times their readiness is stimulated. This is when they start defending their little family group.

How long does a California mouse live?

In the wild, California mouse lifespan is around a year, whereas they can live up to five years in captivity. However, on average, they live for 9-18 months. The lifespan is almost similar to a white-footed mouse.

How do they reproduce?

California mouse (P. californicus) is a social species that form long-lasting pair bonds, and its males help raise the young. Females can produce a maximum of six litter in a year; however, in the wild, their litter size goes down to two to three, and gestation ranges from 21 - 25 days or even 30 days depending on the habitats and what age the female is.

Moreover, their breeding season has no particular time or season. They can breed anytime throughout the year. The offspring are weaned when they are five to six weeks of age, and nests are insulated with coarse, dry grasses, weeds, and sticks.

The young ones reach sexual maturity after a period of 77 - 80 days for females. In the case of males, this sexual maturity can take some more days to attain. The male parent is always busy defending and fighting rather than bringing in food for the young ones. This behavior of males is generally a trade-off for females.

What is their conservation status?

California mouse population is stable, but the environment in which they live is not. Their natural habitats are being destroyed as humans continue to let their homes and businesses grow. Every day, more and more of the animals' habitat is being destroyed by humans. However, the conservation status of this species is declared as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

California Mouse Fun Facts

What do California mice look like?

These mouses belonging to the genus Peromyscus are quite small and have a brown to black coat with a lighter chest. They have a brown body with white coloring on their stomachs and feet. Their ears are large, and their tails range from long to very short, depending on their surroundings.

This little creature has a distinctive appearance. This is due to its bicolored coloring, a yellowish-brown or gray mixed with black dorsal coloration, and white undersides. A fulvous lateral line sometimes separates the ventral side of the shoulder region, sometimes extending to the thigh.

These white-footed creatures with distinctively large ears have long furry tails as compared to their head and body. The adult mice are generally larger in size, and so they were usually confused with dusky-footed woodrats, who also belong to the same family, Cricetidae. Dusky-footed woodrats are a very close relative of California deer mice.

California mice facts are all about their diet, predators, behavior, and nests.

How cute are they?

The California mouse (P. californicus) seems to be cute because of its long furry tail and little head and body. However, some consider them scary and even gross because of their yellowish-brown appearance. Yet, this mouse species isn't as odd-looking as the naked mole-rat.

How do they communicate?

California mouse (Peromyscus californicus) generally uses three modes of communication: tactile, chemical, acoustic, and visual. Mostly, they make use of their very sharp vision and listening abilities.

Moreover, for communicating, they generally make use of chemical mode. In a family group, each mouse uses ultrasound techniques to convey their messages and communicate with each other. Interestingly, the male mouse creatures transition from aggressive communication to affiliative communication while forming pairs.

For instance, territorial aggression is observed in male species, where they usually exchange aggression. Jumping, crying, and mewing are the few fighting forms they illustrate.

How big is a California mouse?

This mouse species have an average body length of 8.7-11.2 in (22-28.4 cm). They can get as big as 12 in (30.4 cm), but typically that's not the case. These mice have long tails 1-1.2 in (25.4-30.48 mm) and large ears 0.4-0.5 in (10.1-12.7 mm). This mouse species are two to three times bigger than a kangaroo rat.

How fast can a California mouse move?

This mouse species is excellent at climbing and motile, so they readily move in the shrubs. However, no appropriate speed is known to answer how fast they can move.

How much does a California mouse weigh?

This mouse weighs 1.17-1.92 oz (33.1-54.4 g) on average.

What are the male and female names of the species?

A female mouse is called a doe, whereas a male mouse is called a buck.

What would you call a baby California mouse?

California mouse (P. californicus) baby is known as a pup or even pinkies due to their vibrant baby pink coloration.

What do they eat?

These mouse creatures feed on grains, berries, insects, other invertebrates, fruits, seeds, and flowers. California mouse is mostly herbivore as they mainly feed on fruits, seeds, and flowers, but they will occasionally eat insects or other small animals. These creatures do not intake water directly. Rather they are mainly dependant on their food which contains some percentage of water. For instance, seeds or flowers have dew or raindrops over them. They do not generally prefer hunting on insects or invertebrates.

Are they dangerous?

Yes. They are dangerous to some extent, but they do not pose any serious harm.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they would not make a good pet as they are habituated to live in the wild. Moreover, they shy away from humans, which is another big parameter that disqualifies them from being good pets.

Did you know...

California mouse teeth are known to be really excellent and handy, especially their incisors and molars. They have a dental formula of 1003/1003. The dental formula basically describes the number of each kind of tooth in both jaws. It is generally calculated for mammals and is supposed to be a four-digit fraction.

California mouse diseases include hantavirus, which is only caused and spread by the deer mouse in California. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a disease that is mainly spread by rodents, and in California, it is mostly carried and spread by California mice.

Where are most California mice found?

California mouse distribution varies due to climate and environmental conditions and is predominantly found in various parts of Southern California, northwestern Mexico, and south of the San Francisco Bay.

What hormones are important for paternal behavior in the California mouse?

Correlational analyses of other plasma hormones in male California mice (Peromyscus californicus) indicate little evidence that oxytocin is important for paternal behavior. Oxytocin is a mammalian hormone that is a major regulator of social behavior.

The relationship of oxytocin with paternal behavior has been studied extensively in rats, but these studies have not been extended to other rodent species. In a recent study, the relative importance of oxytocin in male California mice was examined.

After mating, oxytocin levels remain high for about one day in males but then gradually decrease over time. Castration has no effect on paternal behavior in these animals when the males' oxytocin levels are low.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Amazon river dolphin facts and Island fox facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable harvest mouse coloring pages.

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