Sigmodon arizonae

Arizona Cotton Rat

Arizona Cotton Rat

Distribution, Abundance, and Seasonality

In California, found in isolated sections of marshy and grassy areas adjacent to the Colorado River. Restricted to moist habitats, such as desert riparian, grassland, cropland, and fresh emergent wetland, but little is known about the distribution or abundance of this species in California.

Arizona Cotton Rat Range Map
Range Map

Specific Habitat Requirements

Feeding: Feeds primarily on grasses. The related S. hispidus also feeds on sugar beets, citrus, other crops, some insects, eggs, and carrion.

Cover: Tall, dense grass is preferred.

Reproduction: Nests of woven grass are constructed either in burrows or on the ground surface (Baar et al. 1974).

Water: No data found, but probably does not require free water.

Pattern: Riparian thickets with moderate to dense grass cover are optimal, but the species may occur in drier grassy areas. Zimmerman (1970) found the Arizona cotton rat in association with willows, tamarisk, poplars, Johnson grass, bluestem, mesquite, bear grass, gramma grass, and catclaw. Goldman (1928) reported that this species was associated with sedges, rushes, cane, cattails, and grasses.

Species Life History

Activity Patterns: Active yearlong. Both diurnal and nocturnal.

Seasonal Movements / Migration: None.

Home Range: No data found.

Territory: No data found.

Reproduction: No data found.

Niche: No data found.

Comments: The biology of S. arizonae probably is similar to that of S. hispidus (see Cameron and Spencer 1981).

Sources & References

California Department of Fish and Game, 1999.
California's Wildlife, Sacramento, CA.
Written by: P. Brylski, reviewed by: H. Shellhammer, edited by: R. Duke, J. Harris

Baar, S. L., E. D. Fleharty, and M. F. Artman. 1974. Utilization of deep burrows and nests by cotton rats in west-central Kansas. Southwest. Nat. 19:440-444. Cameron, G. N., and S. R. Spencer. 1981. Sigmodon hispidus. Mammal. Species No. 158. 9pp. Goldman, E. A. 1928. Three new rodents from western Arizona. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 41:203-206. Williams, D. F. 1986. Mammalian species of special concern in California. Calif. Dept. Fish and Game, Sacramento. Admin. Rep. 86-1. 112pp. Zimmerman, E. G. 1970. Karyology, systematics, and chromosomal evolution in the rodent genus Sigmodon. Mich. State Univ. Biol. Ser. 4:385-454.

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