Pocket Mouse: Fireworks!

This picture shows the pregnant female a day before giving birth. The arrow indicates her abdomen is noticeably swollen.

This picture shows the pregnant female a day before giving birth. Note her noticeably swollen abdomen.

Breeding is going strong at our Pacific Pocket Mouse Conservation Breeding Facility at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. We currently have three pregnant females. Our second pairing (described in Pocket Mouse Matchmaking) between lovely lady #22 (of South San Mateo) and handsome gentlemen #21 (of Santa Margarita), after the birth of our first pup, on June 11, has lead to another successful birth!

Inside the nest, it’s typically very dark and humid. In the center of the photo you can see the eye of one pup that is lying on top of its sibling.

Inside the nest, it’s typically very dark and humid. In the center of the photo you can see the eye of one pup that is lying on top of its sibling.

The female started building her nest just like the previous female did, in preparation for the new arrivals. Interestingly, females in this species don’t start to show physical signs of pregnancy until a week before giving birth. Female #22 began gaining weight slowly from 0.3 to 0.4 ounces (7.7 to 12 grams), over one week.

Four pups were born into a humid nest on July 4. Their mother was actively lying on top of her pups and significantly thinner.

In the center, you can see a pup’s nose and eye.

In the center, you can see a pup’s nose and eye.

Each of her pups is about 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) long and crawling on top of each its siblings to stay warm. Over the next three weeks, these pups will be protected and cared for by their mother until they are foraging for themselves.

Amaranta Kozuch is a senior research technician at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research.

One Response to Pocket Mouse: Fireworks!

  1. Your work is wonderful. I have learned so much and felt so full of joy. The photography, movies and wisdom are fantastic (oh those pocket mice! More than a twinkle in my eye!!!!, Ms. Kozuch, I can only express my gratitude.

    Please, please. please keep sending me your work.

    Joan Tumpson

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