| Young Painted Spiny Pocket Mice are grayish and have soft, thin fur. As adults their coats are usually reddish-brown, and they have stiff spines that are stick out beyond the soft fur. Their tummies are white. Males tend to have longer tails and bigger feet than females. Adults are loners, coming together only to breed, and are aggressive when they encounter another adult. They communicate by chattering their teeth, growling, squealing, grunting, and twittering, and will actually fight if the situation warrants. If a female with offspring feels threatened, she will move her pups, sometimes stuffing one into each cheek pouch to do so. Lactating or pregnant females, carrying two to six embryos, have been found year-round. The gestation period is less than a month (24-26 days).
These pocket mice make use of a variety of habitats from sea level to some 2,250 m and from desert to cloud forest. Like other heteromyid rodents, they gather seeds in their cheek pouches and store the seeds in caches. Spiny mice scurry around on all four feet, rather than hopping like kangaroo rats. They are slow and clumsy climbers.
Head and Body: 103-128 mm; Tail: 112-137 mm
Thomas, O., 1893. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, ser. 6, 12:233.
Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).
Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account (opens in a new window).