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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Rodentia · Cricetidae · Oryzomys couesi

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Oryzomys couesi

Coues's Rice Rat

Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae

Image of Oryzomys couesi
Click to enlarge this image. (107 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Coues’s rice rats prefer cattail-bulrush marshes for habitat. Like the closely related Marsh rice rat, Coues’s is thought to be highly aquatic, active at night, and carnivorous. They are excellent climbers, and nest above the ground. Their nests are built either in cattails or in small trees. When they nest in cattails Coues’s rats only use the cattail leaf to build their nests. In trees, the rats use a mix of plant materials for the nest. They tend to breed during the non-winter months, and may breed throughout the year when winter is mild. They usually have litters of five, after a gestation of about 25 days. The distribution of Coues’s rice rat in the United States - limited to southern Texas - along with their restricted habitat preference makes this species one of the rarest rodents in the United States.

Also known as:

Reasca Rice Rat

Sexual Dimorphism:

Males are larger than females.


Range: 390-410 mm


Range: 67-71 g


Alston, 1877.  Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1876:756 [1877].


Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).

Distribution of Oryzomys couesi

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