Believe it or not, Colorado Springs and Monument are home to an endangered species of mouse. The Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse secured its continued endangered status after a review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as of May 2013 and regained protection on August 6, 2013 in Wyoming where it had previously been removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Discovered in 1899, the Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse inhabits well-established plains and grassland areas with a water source nearby. The mouse is approximately 9 inches in length including tail (more than half the total length of the mouse) and has a definitive dark stripe down the back of their body. The remaining fur on their back varies from grey to an orange or brown with a light colored underbody. Their hind legs are long and have been adapted to jumping. Preble’s tend to live longer than their mice relatives with some adults living over 2 years. Their numerous predators including bullfrogs, foxes and house cats combined with the loss of habitat are the major contributing factors to the Preble’s endangered status. Preble’s begin a long annual hibernation in September or October and do not reemerge until May. They are believed to have 2 litters of pups per year and average 5 pups per litter. Depending on the season and availability of food, their diet frequently consists of seeds, fungus, insects and fruits. Due to their habitat, Preble’s do not enter homes or pose a threat in residential situations. A total of twelve species of jumping mice inhabit the United States.