I’ve been doing research on the marsh habitat and the salt marsh harvest mouse (SMHM) for years for my books. I’ve worked in the marsh pulling ice plants, cleaned the marsh, laid down in the marsh to look up to the sky and run through the marsh probably a thousand times. But never, never have I seen the marsh mouse.
I have just finished another manuscript and needed expert review. I googled experts and found a research study being conducted out of UC Davis. Further digging and I uncovered the professional studies being conducted by a PhD candidate and field scientist. I emailed her and asked if I could ask her some questions and would she read my manuscript.
She said YES. And oh by the way, would I like to go with her into the field when she tags and collars the marsh mouse.
WHAT! SEE THEM FOR REAL? Yes, yes, yes. Well, after being sick, running a race, being out of town, I didn’t think it would work. Then she called and said, “How about tomorrow?” I am so there.
This is one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. I could not stop smiling the WHOLE TIME. The UC Davis PhD Candidate is conducting several field studies through out the Suisun Bay. I met her, donned waders, hat and we sloshed through the marsh checking their custom made traps.
These are special boxes designed to capture the mice. They are checked frequently to monitor and release the mice. House mice and Western Harvest mice are caught and released.
Mice that are captured are measured. SMHM must be a certain length to participate in the study. They are SO CUTE.
Salt Marsh Harvest Mice in this area are recognized by their darkened hair around their face.
See the teeny earring on this salt marsh mouse? It has numbers on the tag so the field scientists may keep track of their study subjects.
This is the tiny radio frequency collar that is placed on the mice to monitor their movements.
Salt Marsh Harvest Mice have grooved teeth. Check it out.
This little sweetheart posed before she received a tag and collar.
Collaring is “sharp” work. Notice those gloves the field scientist is using. Mice are not keen on the collar and will definitely bite!