By Nick Cairns, Sam Jaques and Graham Rothwell
Meet the Olive-backed Pocket Mouse (Perognathus fasciatus) a small rodent that is adapted to the arid portions of western North America. Despite the term “mouse” in its name the pocket mouse are not closely related to the other mice found in Saskatchewan but are grouped together with the kangaroo rats in the family Heteromyidae (hetero=different, mys=mice).
This critter’s claim to fame is its method of collecting and moving food. This “mouse” has fur lined pockets in its cheeks that extend to it shoulders which it stuffs with seeds. It then ferries the seeds to its burrow where they are stored for lean times in a special larder.
These rodents are nocturnal and most active in the coolest parts of the night this means that precious moisture is not lost, even to radiated heat from the substrate. Pocket mice also produce very concentrated urine and dry feces. By being thrifty with their water budgets, pocket mice get all of their water from the seeds they eat and never have to drink.