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Small Mammal Monitoring Program

Small mammals, including, mice, rats, squirrels, gophers, shrews, and moles, contribute greatly to the overall biodiversity of Southern Nevada. They're unique adaptations to this arid climate have helped them achieve a ubiquitous role in the desert landscape. The telltale sign of a small mammal's presence, the burrow, dots the environment. Small mammals in Southern Nevada are mostly nocturnal herbivores but insects, lizards, and other small mammals may also be preyed upon. There is limited information on the small mammal community near the Las Vegas Wash (Wash) with the most recent analysis completed over 30 years ago. For this reason it was essential to redevelop a baseline data set that accurately reflects the existing small mammal community assemblage in the Wash.

Desert Shrew
Desert Shrew (Notiosorex crawfordi)

A small mammal monitoring program was completed from July 2002 to July 2003. The primary goals for the program were to determine the presence and diversity of small mammals inhabiting the Wash, which would subsequently allow for population estimation and investigation of habitat usage by these animals. Eight species of small mammal were observed during trapping events at the six study sites. These animals include the long-tailed pocket mouse (Chaetodipus formosus), desert pocket mouse (Chaetodipus penicillatus), little pocket mouse (Perognathus longimembris), cactus mouse (Peromyscus eremicus), Merriam's kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami), desert woodrat (Neotoma lepida), house mouse (Mus musculus), and white-tailed antelope squirrel (Ammospermophilus leucurus). The desert shrew (Notiosorex crawfordi) was also observed but only during the reptile survey.

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Las Vegas Wash Project Coordination Team • 100 City Parkway, Suite 700 • Las Vegas, NV 89106 • (702) 822-3300