By: Emma Balunek
(CNHP Siegele Conservation Science Intern)
My name is Emma Balunek and I was one of the interns this summer. My summer took me to seven different places in Colorado which was exciting since this was my first summer living in the state. I was able to work with bats, small mammals, plants, insects, and birds!
I have many favorite memories. One of them is catching a Meadow Jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius) at Hallam Lake in Aspen! We were conducting a bioblitz which is where you identify as many plants, mammals, and insects as possible in a specific area and during a specific time period. In order to figure out which species of small mammals are in the area, we set up Sherman live traps. Each evening, we go to the 45 traps set up to open them and put oats in the trap to attract rodents. Then early in the morning we go around and check them. On the second morning we caught three Meadow Jumping mice! Renee and Teru (other interns), John (CNHP zoologist), and I were all very excited to document this mouse on the property. We took measurements of the mouse’s weight, ears, legs, body, and tail before releasing him.
The meadow jumping mouse lives in wet, herbaceous habitat usually along streams with vegetation like willows. They have long hind feet and tails twice their body length that assist them in jumping impressive heights and distances. There are subspecies of the Meadow Jumping mouse including the endangered Preble’s Meadow Jumping mouse, which only lives in riparian areas along Colorado and Wyoming’s front range, and the endangered New Mexico Meadow Jumping mouse.
This was my first exposure to small mammal trapping and I loved catching the small little rodents that we rarely see while hiking around!