November 30, 2022 – What weighs as much as a AAA battery and has the cutest ears you’ve ever seen? A Perdido Key beach mouse youngster! On Veterans Day, Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo staff came to the zoo after Hurricane Nicole passed through Gainesville and discovered four new beach mice with their parents in their behind-the-scenes habitat. Based on their size, staff determined they were likely born in July and stayed tucked away safely in a burrow. Since they are Endangered and part of an important recovery program through a Species Survival Plan, keepers carefully maintain their beachy habitats and observe them while allowing them to live their nocturnal, burrowing lifestyle. These are the first mice born at SFTZ since 2010!
The following week, they received their first check-up from UF Vets. The mice were placed in a clear jar that was put on a scale and inspected from all angles in order to determine their sex and weigh them. All mice are separated into habitats based on their sex unless they are paired for breeding, so the three males are now rooming together in a roomy, sandy habitat while the female gets a space all to herself.
Perdido Key beach mice are vital ecosystem engineers, and their survival is essential to maintaining dune habitats. You can learn more about these fascinating mice and more animals making an impact in their homes by attending Holiday at Santa Fe this Saturday, December 3rd. This family favorite holiday show, set to music from “The Nutcracker,” will see Santa Claus and Perry the Perdido Key beach mouse lead you through a journey about environmental conservation with animal-themed dances. Tickets for the 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. show are available online at showpass.com/holiday-at-santa-fe/.
Holiday at Santa Fe is funded in part by Visit Gainesville, Alachua County.