• Lower Cliff Dwelling

    Tonto

    National Monument Arizona

Southern Grasshopper Mouse

southern grasshopper mouse

Southern grasshopper mouse

NPS Photo

Southern Grasshopper Mouse
Onychomys torridus

Body length: 3 1/2 - 4"
Diet: Insects, scorpions, other mice, lizards, and seeds

Grasshopper mice have been described as the wolves of the mouse world. Unlike their seed-eating relatives, they are insectivorous and carnivorous - that is, insect-eating and meat-eating. Although insects may form their principal food, grasshopper mice also eat spiders, scorpions, and lizards, and are legendary for killing and eating other mice in captivity. At times when these foods are scarce, grasshopper mice will also eat seeds.

To add to their most un-mouse-like nature, grasshopper mice "howl", or call (like wolves) with a high-pitched whistle. This species is monogamous, or faithful to one mate, and both parents care for the young. In appearance, grasshopper mice are difficult to distinguish from other mice, having a typically small build, gray-brown fur, and large ears. When captured, however, they emit a distinctive, almost skunk-like smell. Grasshopper mice occur at Tonto National Monument in areas north of the Visitor Center.

Did You Know?

old photo of the Lower Cliff Dwellings

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...