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Southern Grasshopper Mouse


Onychomys torridus

Type: Mammal

Location: Sonoran Desert, Arizona, USA

Diet: Omnivore

Average life span in the wild: 4.6 years

Average weight: 0.78 ounces

Average Size: 3.5 to 5 inches (head and body); 1 to 2.5 inches (tail)

One of the cutest and most unusual things about grasshopper mice is their penchant to stand on their hind legs, raise their nose to the sky, and let out a dramatic, high-pitched howl. Like the howling of a wolf or coyote, these mouse howls are likely used to communicate and denote territory.

The southern grasshopper mouse lives primarily in the arid deserts of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. They are largely carnivorous, making them unique among mice–their diet mainly consisting of insects, like scorpions, beetles, and grasshoppers, as well as other rodents—including other grasshopper mice.

Grasshopper mice are extremely aggressive predators, and are known to commit acts of cannibalism when threatened or in need of food. They are generally solitary animals and keep large territories to themselves, but they may live in male-female pairs. However, this live-in relationship tends to end badly—one of the two partners inevitably kills the other.