Nebraska Game and Parks Commission


Date of this Version



Plains Harvest Mouse (Reithrodontomys montanus griseus) A Species Conservation Assessment for The Nebraska Natural Legacy Project. Prepared by Melissa J. Panella, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Wildlife Division, September 2012


The primary goal in development of at-risk species conservation assessments is to compile biological and ecological information that may assist conservation practitioners in making decisions regarding species of interest. The Nebraska Natural Legacy Project recognizes the plains harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys montanus griseus) as a Tier I at-risk species of high conservation need. Some general management recommendations are made here regarding the plains harvest mouse; however, conservation practitioners will need to use professional judgment to make specific management decisions based on objectives, location, and a multitude of variables. This resource was designed to share available knowledge of the plains harvest mouse that will aid in the decision-making process or in identifying research needs to benefit the species. Species conservation assessments should be re-evaluated as new pertinent scientific information becomes available. The Nebraska Natural Legacy Project focuses efforts in the state’s Biologically Unique Landscapes (BULs), but it is recommended that whenever possible, practitioners make considerations for a species throughout its range in order to increase the outcome of successful conservation efforts.

Criteria for selection as Tier I Critically imperiled; possibly declining

Trends since 2005 in NE Unknown

Range in NE Eastern portion of state

Habitat Tallgrass prairie - heavily grazed, open prairies, salt marshes

Threats Loss of tallgrass prairie habitat; lack of heavy grazing; management issues

Climate Change Vulnerability Index: Not Vulnerable; increase likely

Research/Inventory Conduct surveys to assess distribution and abundance (particularly in saline wetlands); determine specific habitat requirements

Landscapes Elkhorn Confluence, Sandstone Prairies, Southeast Prairies, Saline Wetlands, Willow Creek Prairies

According to the last review in 1996, the plains harvest mouse has a state Heritage status rank of S1, U.S. national status of N5 and global conservation rank of G5TNR (NatureServe 2009). R. m. griseus is limited regionally, and it is estimated that less than 200 individuals are present in the state of Nebraska (Schneider et al. 2011). The Nebraska Natural Legacy Science Team set a goal of maintaining at least seven populations in the state (Schneider et al. 2011). Lifespan of a plains harvest mouse is likely little more than a year (Timm et al. 2012); individuals have been recaptured up to 14 months after initial capture (Waggoner 1975, Wilkins 1986).