It’s still National Wildlife Week, so I thought I would feature a few of our less celebrated museum specimens, members of the order Cricetidae! It is the second-largest mammalian order and consists of New World mice and rats, voles, lemmings, and true hamsters.
I personally feel as if these guys are highly underrated, especially the species in the first photo: the bushy-tailed woodrat (Neotoma cinerea), also known as the packrat. I really think they would benefit from a name change, like maybe “bushy-tailed mice squirrels”, to highlight their resourcefulness and the quirks of their individual characters.
The following three pictures feature the traditional deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus). These white-bellied rodents can sometimes be associated with lyme disease and the hantavirus; the discovery that they were carriers of those diseases led to a public awareness of these creatures and reminded people to be wary when working or living in environments in which deer mice are found.
The last picture is of some Chinese striped hamsters (Cricetulus barabensis), which I was not aware we had in our collection! It’s always fun coming across new things in our museum, which happens to me multiple times a day and really keeps things inspiring.