Body length: 3 1/5 - 3 3/5"
Diet: Seeds, insects, and possibly green vegetation
To most people, all mice and rats look alike. Still, if we had to identify the most mouse-like of Tonto's small mammals, it would have to be the cactus mouse, with its Mickey Mouse ears and scampering habits.
The cactus mouse is one species of a closely related group of common mice often referred to as "deer mice". All are potential carriers of a virus known as Hantavirus, which can be deadly to humans but does not appear to harm the mice themselves. Outbreaks of Hantavirus in Arizona and New Mexico may be related to periodic population explosions of mice. Under ideal conditions, which seem to coincide with extremely wet winters, female cactus mice can give birth at approximately 29-day intervals for two years or more. Cactus mice occur throughout Tonto National Monument.
Did You Know?
The first known written record of the cliff dwellings at Tonto National Monument dates from 1880. Archeologist Adolph Bandelier visited the dwellings in 1883, and said they were some of the best preserved he had ever seen. More...