Meet the Critters! The Grasshopper Mouse

This week, we’re introducing you the the most ferocious mouse around, the Northern Grasshopper Mouse!  Grasshopper mice are mostly carnivorous, though they will snack on seeds and fruit when available.  It’s estimated that in the wild, up to 89% of their diet is made up of insects and other meat.   Their prey includes grasshoppers, scorpions, beetles, crickets, and even giant centipedes and small birds.  These nocturnal mice are also known for howling like a tiny wolf!

Grasshopper mice are commonly found throughout Kansas, and make their home in grassland areas.  They live in a complex system of burrows, that they may dig themselves, or steal from another animal.  They’re often found living near prairie dog towns, and are thought to have a role in the transmission of plague thanks to the 57 species of fleas that they play host to.

Adult grasshopper mice can reach up to 6 inches in length, including their tail and weigh about 35 grams.  A single female can have up to four litters each year, with 2-7 young per litter.  It’s a rough life in the wild, and grasshopper mice may only live to be a few months old.  In captivity, they can live up to five years.  Our young male at KWEC is under a year old, so hopefully he’ll be with us for quite a while!

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About Jean Aycock

Jean Aycock is an Educator at Ft. Hays State University’s Kansas Wetlands Education Center (KWEC) at Cheyenne Bottoms. Jean received a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry - Wildlife Management from Mississippi State University, and a Master of Science degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Arkansas-Monticello, studying shorebird migration. Jean is a native of southeast Missouri, and an avid birder, hiker, and crafter.

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