Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse

The EPICS

About Salty

Salty, the salt marsh harvest mouse, is a cute little mouse. He is about the size of your thumb, and is quite small, weighing 1/4 of an ounce. As seen in the picture, the mouse has soft and thick, yellowish-red fur. And to add on a few finishing touches of black eyes, blunt nose, and large rounded ears.

Stalking Salty

The salt marsh harvest mouse gets its name from living in the salt marsh. Salt marshes can be found from southwestern Canada to northern Ecuador. Their nests can be found cradled in pickle weed, which is coincidentally, their favorite snack to munch on.

The mother mouse gives birth to a litter of 3 or 4 mice. The young mice arouse from their long sleep after 5 days. Another 5 days, and they'll get kicked out of the house, or in this case, the nest.

After that, everyday is just the same, following the 3 hour schedule: eat 1/2 hour, and sleep 2 1/2 hour. With all this sleeping, there's no need for hibernating.

Mousy Lifestyle

These interesting salt craving mice are absolutely dependent on the salinity of water in their habitat. Not only do they drink water, but are also fairly capable of swimming in it. Unfortunately, the mice have no time to show off their surfing skills; instead, they're too busy dodging all kinds of small carnivores and birds. If they are fortunate enough to survive, their life ends when they reach 1.5 years old. =(

Relatives

A little classification for you classy people:

Class: Mammalian

Order: Rodentia

Family: Muridae

Genus: Micromys Minutus

Species: Old World Harvest Mouse


The Salt Marsh Harvest Mice are related to Plains Harvest Mice, Fulvous Harvest Mice, Western Harvest Mice, and House Mice. Although it would be like: oh yeah, he's my twice removed cousin, don't worry, he's still a mouse.

Why they are endangered

Like most animals, the cause of salty's endangerment is habitat loss. In this case, it's mainly due to farming purposes, increase in population density, and salt harvesting in the 1970's. Since then, the mice have been experiencing a great loss of plants. Without enough habitat, they don't have enough space to hide from predators. And to make things worst, pollution from boat activity, cars, and much more are making their lives very difficult.

Try This!

Materials:

  • a tub (region of land)
  • a few sponges (salt marshes)
  • small candy wrappers (pollution)
  • dirt (pollution)
  • cooking oil (pollution)
  • a log (mountain)
  • small pebbles (boulders)
  • water (rain)


Procedure:

  1. put the log in the tub and line up a few sponges next to it.
  2. scatter the pebbles on the "mountain"
  3. now pour water from the top of the mountain. Notice how the salt marshes soak up the rain and stop the boulders?
  4. take away some of the sponges
  5. add more pebbles, cooking oil, candy wrappers, and dirt.
  6. now pour the water again. notice some of the pollution and boulders get pass the salt marshes? If we had houses where the salt marshes used to be, they would be flooded. Through this model, we can see that the salt marshes not only benefit the animals living in it, but that it's crucial to our lives.

What we can do to help

These fabulous creatures are slowly becoming lost to our world. It seems that all our efforts are lost because they can be crushed so easily. However, hopefully, your input in saving salt mice will put off the endangered list. Here are things you can do:

1) Donate money to salt marsh wildlife refuges

2) volunteer at a refuge or wildlife center

3) donate land

4) remember the 3 R's (recycle, reuse, and reduce) to fuel down pollution

5) be creative and find your own ways to make endangered animals thrive!