The Western jumping mouse (Zapus princeps) is a good looking rodent.
It's two-toned body trim, yellow sides, and long tail are distinctive features, and it befuddles its predators by jumping like a grasshopper.
It's the jumping mouse of the mountains, usually found along creeks and drainages. Its relative, the Pacific jumping mouse is coastal in distribution.
This fellow made an appearance at the Aplodontia burrow staked out by Bill.
My first encounter with the Western jumping mouse was in June 1962 on the Little Truckee River in the Tahoe National Forest.
School was out, and four of us, three budding biologists and a geologist escaped into the northern Sierra Nevada to do some collecting.
Here's what I wrote in my field notes:
"I set 15 traps (2 rat and 13 museum specials) . . . in a marshy area beside the river -- I thought I might get some shrews."
"The two rat traps I set near burrows on the 'sagey' slope across the river."
"The next morning we woke up at 7:30. I picked up my traps and then ate breakfast."
"I caught 4 jumping mice -- an entirely new genus for me (Zapus)."
"I skinned them out and then we ate lunch."
"After lunch I decided to do a little cicada collecting . . ."
7:30!! What a bunch of lazy butts. I might note that we had trouble boiling the noodles the night before and didn't eat dinner until 11:00.
We might have been drinking beer, too.
Ah, the sweet days of youth.