Fun Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse Facts For Kids

Oluniyi Akande
Feb 10, 2023 By Oluniyi Akande
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
One of the interesting salt marsh harvest mouse facts is that it almost exclusively lives among and feeds on Pickleweed plants.
?
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.1 Min

The salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris) is a rodent native to and found mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, USA. It favors marine and brackish marshes and is also able to drink salty water, hence the name. The salt marsh harvest mouse looks very similar to the house mouse and western harvest mouse species. The mouse almost exclusively prefers a habitat with an abundance of the pickleweed plant. The salt marsh harvest mouse uses pickleweed as food and as cover and shelter. Because of its red belly, the salt marsh harvest mouse is also referred to as the red-bellied harvest mouse. The quickly declining populations of both the salt marsh harvest mouse subspecies has led the International Union for Conservation of Nature to declare it as an Endangered species. The reasons for this are the destruction of its natural habitat, the debasement of its wetlands, groundwater pumping, vegetation changes, sea-level rise, sewage dumping. Because of these threats, it is harder for these animals to repopulate their many lost habitats in marshes around San Francisco Bay.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other insects including the Patagonian mara or the dormouse here.

Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a salt marsh harvest mouse?

The salt marsh harvest mouse (R. raviventris) is a mouse and a rodent.

What class of animal does a salt marsh harvest mouse belong to?

The salt marsh harvest mouse (R. raviventris) belongs to the Mammalia class of animals.

How many salt marsh harvest mice are there in the world?

The total number of salt marsh harvest mice (Reithrodontomys raviventris) in the world is unknown.

Where does a salt marsh harvest mouse live?

The salt marsh harvest mouse (R. raviventris) is native to the closed habitats of salt and brackish marshes where there is abundant pickleweed for cover and food, in the San Francisco Bay area in the North American state of California, USA.

What is a salt marsh harvest mouse's habitat?

The salt marsh harvest mouse favors salty and brackish water adjacent marshes that have their preferred shelter and food, the Pickleweed plant. They prefer the cover and seclusion of closed spaces. Their ability to climb and swim and escape high tidal waves also helps them survive tidal wetlands. They also inhabit grasslands nearby to these marshes, more so during the high tides of winter.

Who do salt marsh harvest mice live with?

The salt marsh harvest mouse lives alone in its range unless it's the breeding season.

How long does a salt marsh harvest mouse live?

The salt marsh harvest mouse lives anywhere between 12-18 months.

How do they reproduce?

The salt marsh harvest mice reproduce by breeding and giving birth to live young ones. The mate between March and November, the female gestates for 21-24 days and gives birth to a litter of four pups. She can have 2-3 litters per year.

What is their conservation status?

The Conservation Status of salt marsh harvest mice according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature is Endangered.

Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse Fun Facts

What do salt marsh harvest mice look like?

The salt marsh harvest mouse's body is  2-3 in (5-7 cm) long and it has a tail length of 2-4 in (6-10cm), making it 4-7 in (11-17 cm) long. It weighs 0.3-0.5 oz (9-14 g) and is 0.6-0.8 in (1.5-2.1 cm). This endangered species resembles the western harvest mouse and the house mouse. It distinguishes itself from these two species by having red bellies and grooved upper incisor teeth. It has a dark brown back and a red or pinkish belly. Some northern subspecies of salt marsh harvest mice now also have whiter-looking bellies. There is also a dark stripe running vertically on its back. Its ears are dark and its uniformly colored tail is furred.

Salt Marsh Harvest

How cute are they?

The salt marsh harvest mouse is very cute. It has an adorably tiny body that easily fits inside the human hand. It has an emotive face with dark eyes and upright ears. The mouse has a dainty red belly, and tiny limbs, and a tail longer than its body. It is also a highly active mouse, it builds its nest quickly and is an exceptional swimmer, constantly navigating high tides marshes.

How do they communicate?

Like most mice, salt marsh harvest mice may communicate via body language, vocalizations, and pheromones.

How big is a salt marsh harvest mouse?

The salt marsh harvest mice are 2-3 in (5-7 cm) in length with a tail that is 2-4 in (6-10 cm) long, and they have a height of 0.6-0.8 in (1.5-2.1 cm), which makes them 4-6 times smaller than the northern Luzon giant cloud rat.

How fast can a salt marsh harvest mouse move?

Being mice, salt marsh harvest mice may move up to 8 mph (13 kph).

How much does a salt marsh harvest mouse weigh?

A salt marsh harvest mouse weighs 0.3-0.5 oz (9-14 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male and female of the salt marsh harvest mouse species are called buck and doe respectively.

What would you call a baby salt marsh harvest mouse?

A baby salt marsh harvest mouse may be called a pup, a pinkie, or a kit.

What do they eat?

Salt marsh harvest mice mainly dine on pickleweed seeds and other marsh plants but also eat other foods such as leaves, stems, and grass.

Are they poisonous?

No, salt marsh harvest mice are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

They would not make a good pet. They are creatures of the wild and very adapted to their natural habitat of salt marshes and pickleweeds. Their habitats in the San Francisco Bay Area in California are quickly declining and efforts must be taken to restore them instead.

Did you know...

The salt marsh harvest mouse species is, in fact, made up of two sub-species. The northern subspecies (R. r. halicoetes) have lighter-colored bellies and naturally occupy the northern side of the marshes. The southern subspecies (R. r. raviventris) occupy the southern and eastern reaches of the marshes, near the Suisun Bay. In Suisun Bay or the Suisun Marsh habitat, the species is found specifically in Solano County.

The San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge was founded in 1972 to preserve the marshes in South Bay. One of the biggest marshes where the salt marsh harvest mouse's habitat is preserved in the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife refuge is the Greco Islands.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is at the forefront of the investigation of the effects of climate change on the habitats of salt marsh harvest mice species. Also, a recovery plan was devised by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1984. The Fish and Wildlife Service also lists the species as endangered.

The average home range for the juveniles of the species is 1981.2-2500 sq m (6500-7500 sq ft) and the home range for adults is 4267.2-4876.8 sq m (14,000-16,000 sq ft).

Why is the salt marsh harvest mouse endangered?

The salt marsh harvest mouse is endangered because of its natural habitat being destroyed. The wetlands and the vegetation of their native marshes around the San Francisco bay area have been degrading. The pumping of groundwater leads to smaller marshes, the sewage dumping pollutes them. Many of their territories have been lost and they haven't been able to repopulate them, and their populations are rapidly declining.

How many salt marsh harvest mice are left?

The exact number of salt marsh harvest mice left in the world has not been determined, but the dangerous rate of their population decline, along with the destruction of their habitat and being hunted by snakes, has resulted in them being recognized as an endangered species by the IUCN

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our woodchucks facts and Roborovski dwarf hamster facts pages.

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

Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Leaves, stems, seeds, grass, saltgrass, pickleweed

What Type of Animal were they?

Herbivore

Average Litter Size?

4

How Much Did They Weigh?

0.3-0.5 oz (9-14 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

salt marsh wetlands, pickleweed vegetation

Where Do They Live?

north america

How Long Were They?

2-3 in (5-7 cm)2-4 in (6-10 cm) (tail length)‍

How Tall Were They?

0.6-0.8 in (1.5-2.1 cm)

Class

Mammalia

Genus

Reithrodontomys

Family

Cricetidae

Scientific Name

Reithrodontomys raviventris

What Do They Look Like?

Buff, brown, whitish, cinnamon

Skin Type

Fur

What Are Their Main Threats?

humans, habitat loss, snakes, hawks, owls, shorebird mammals, house cats

What is their Conservation Status?

Endangered
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Oluniyi Akande

Doctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

Oluniyi Akande picture

Oluniyi AkandeDoctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

With an accomplished background as a Veterinarian, SEO content writer, and public speaker, Oluniyi brings a wealth of skills and experience to his work. Holding a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan, he provides exceptional consulting services to pet owners, animal farms, and agricultural establishments. Oluniyi's impressive writing career spans over five years, during which he has produced over 5000 high-quality short- and long-form pieces of content. His versatility shines through as he tackles a diverse array of topics, including pets, real estate, sports, games, technology, landscaping, healthcare, cosmetics, personal loans, debt management, construction, and agriculture.

Read full bio >
Read the DisclaimerFact Correction