Palo Duro Mouse (Peromyscus truei comanche)
- Texas Status
- Protection Status Notes
- *The Palo Duro Mouse is listed as a State Threatened species in Texas.
- Length: 8 inches, 4 inches of body; 4 inches of tail.
Color: Adults are cinnamon brown on their upper body with white underparts and feet. They have a reddish brown lateral line (stripe along their side). Their large ears (about 3/ 4 inch) and a long tail (1/2 of their total length).
- Life History
- Palo Duro Mice are relatively secretive creatures, emerging from burrows underground or crevices in rocks primarily at night. They are known to eat mainly the seeds of juniper, mesquite and prickly pear cactus.
Very little is known about the Palo Duro Mouse's reproductive cycle. The few studies that have been conducted have found pregnant females throughout the spring, summer and early fall months. This suggests that Palo Duro Mice may be able to breed when weather conditions and food availability are favorable to the survival of young mice.
Most rodents including mice are generally thought of as pests because of their potential to spread disease, damage crops and property. However, because Palo Duro Mice inhabit the steep canyon walls, they rarely come in contact with people and therefore pose little threat to humans.
- Probably of most interest about the Palo Duro Mouse is the habitat which it calls home. It's adapted to live on the steep, rocky, canyon walls typically having only a few juniper trees and very little grass. Living in this rugged terrain helps to protect them from many predators like the coyote, bobcat, hawks, and owls that commonly prey upon small rodents. Rattlesnakes remain its major predator.
- The Palo Duro Mouse is found only in three counties in the world, Randall, Armstrong, and Briscoe Counties. The largest populations are known to exist in Palo Duro Canyon and Caprock Canyon State Parks.
- *The Palo Duro Mouse's closest relative is the Pinon Mouse, which is found in extreme western Texas and eastern New Mexico.
*Some Palo Duro Mice have been known to live up to two and a half years in the wild.
*The Palo Duro Mouse became isolated from the Pinon mouse about 10,000 years ago.