Don’t Miss this Little Superstar, the Los Angeles Pocket Mouse
The Western Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority’s (RCA) November Species of the Month is a miniscule rodent, the Los Angeles Pocket Mouse! This little critter is one of the 146 species protected by the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP) implemented by the RCA.
The Los Angeles Pocket Mouse, also known as Perognathus longimembris brevinasus, is one of the smallest species of pocket mouse weighing from 8 to11 grams and is only about 4.5 inches long. It is mostly found in the coastal basins of southern California, from the San Fernando Valley east to Cabazon, south through the San Jacinto and Temecula Valleys to Aguanga, Warner Pass, Vail Lake, and Temecula.
These mice have hairs on their back toes which help them move through sandy soil. Their habitat consists of sandy soils in washes, uplands, and sand dune ecosystems. They are a fossorial species, which means they tend to burrow underground. The Los Angeles Pocket Mouse collects seeds, storing them in their fur lined cheek pouches, until they can stockpile the seeds in their underground burrows for future consumption. They are nocturnal and are active during the warmer months and hibernate during the cooler months.
While Los Angeles Pocket Mouse populations are declining, the RCA is proactively working to help the species in Riverside County by protecting at least 14,000 acres of suitable habitat for this cute little creature. Some of the habitat areas where you may come across one include the San Jacinto Wildlife Area, the Lake Perris Reserve, and the San Jacinto River. Species surveys for the Los Angeles Pocket Mouse are conducted for some projects that may affect their habitat so we can protect them in key core areas of the MSHCP Plan Area.