Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Anyone know rodents?

I have seen many rodents here, we have mice, squirrels, rats, prairie dogs and so on. One night last summer I stepped into my garage, flipped on the light and saw a creature I had never seen before. It was bigger than a mouse, but smaller than a rat. All the rats I have seen before are short haired, but this thing was really fluffy, brown and white as I remember (but I have seen them in other colors since then), a rather pointy nose, really vicious looking teeth and a long tail. Over the summer Sheba killed several of these creatures, there wasn't normally much left of them by the time I found them, but there was always enough fluffy hair to know it was one of them. I have a very small garden area, more like a courtyard that is in the middle of the house, between the old part of the house and the new addition. There is a door from the house that goes out there, but normally nobody does. I have never been able to get anything to grow in there, except the huge tree that was there before we moved in. I have seen these same creatures out there at night, scurrying up the wall and across the ground. Kanga the cat sits at the door watching for them for hours, this summer she has been going out there and trying to catch them. I have no clue what they are, some sort of rat would be my guess, but I don't really know. We have lived here over 10 years and until last summer never had I seen one of these. Sheba is regular about catching and killing every small rodent around, but until last summer she had never left one of those at the door. Any ideas about what it is? I hope to get a picture of one this summer, but I haven't yet.


barkfoot said...
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barkfoot said...

If it has a pointy nose, it might be a shrew. They are very active and will happily scamper up walls and trees. Not strictly a rodent, they come in many varietes and sizes which might make it harder to identify. If it is a shrew, they can be useful in the garden as they often eat all the plant pests.

Lesley said...

Thank you! I think you are likely right. I didn't find any pictures on the internet that were as fluffy as the ones I have seen, but they do basically look the same. I also found out at the NM mammal site that there are 10 different kinds of shrews in NM alone, so apparently there is a very wide variety of these creatures.