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Canyon Deermouse (Peromyscus crinitus)
Mammals Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Canyon Mouse (Peromyscus crinitus)

Canyon Deermice (Peromyscus crinitus) are often the most common "deer mice" or "field mice" in the Mojave Desert. Canyon Deermice live in middle-elevation vegetation communities in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) and higher life zones. They build nests under rocks, in old burrows of other animals, and in piles of dead vegetation. They sleep during the day and come out to forage on seeds and vegetation during the night. They also eat bugs and carrion when they can, and they happily raid camper's food.

Canyon Deermice are preyed upon by everything: snakes, owls, kit fox, large scorpions, lizards, and anything else that can catch them. They have high reproductive rates (lots of litters and lots of pups per litter), so they survive high predation rates.

Canyon Mouse (Peromyscus crinitus)

Canyon Deermice look like all of the other "deer mice" (members of the genus Peromyscus) and can be difficult to identify with certainty. For the lay person, passing them off as "field mice" is good enough.

For those concerned, consults range maps to ensure that this species is a possibility in the area, then rule out other possibilities by examining the ears and tail.

Around Las Vegas, the possibilities are Cactus Deermouse, Canyon Deermouse, North American Deermouse, and Pinyon Deermouse.

Canyon Mouse (Peromyscus crinitus)

In the Canyon Deermouse, the ears are short, which rules out Pinyon Deermouse (ears more than 1 inch long). The tail is bi-colored, but the line between the dark top and light underside is indistinct, ruling out Deer Deermouse (distinct line). The tail is covered with long hairs, and the hairs on the tip of the tail are long (extending about 8 mm beyond the end of the tail), ruling out Cactus Deermouse (which have scantly clad tails and the hairs on the tip of the tail are short).

All deer mice, including Canyon Deermouse, carry Hanta Virus, a potentially deadly disease that attacks the respiratory system with flu-like symptoms. Despite the hysteria, however, it is difficult to contract hanta virus. I have handled thousands of Peromyscus, often in less than sanitary conditions, and I've never gotten sick or even died from hanta virus.

Canyon Mouse (Peromyscus crinitus)

Long hairs on the tail, especially off the tip.

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 121003

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