We previously reported to you our first Pacific pocket mouse birth in captivity (see 1st Pocket Mouse Born). Well, our little pup grew quickly!
Baby Pacific pocket mice are tiny and pink when they are born. A pup is less than an inch long and lighter than one gram. During the first week, pups stay warm and eat. Whiskers come in the first week.
During the second week, they have grown very short hairs. Their eyes are beginning to open, just little slits. They start exploring outside the nest, testing things in their tiny mouth. Wobbling everywhere, Mom brings them back to the nest, because they still need her.
Three weeks after birth, the teeth erupted, the pup weighed about five grams and was ready to be weaned (separated from its mother). The first female born in captivity has made a nest and is foraging in her own cage. Soon we will pair her with a male so she can have a litter of her own. This pup is a symbol of hope for this species.
Amaranta Kozuch is a senior research technician at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research.