Picture, if you can, a small carnivorous mammal.
Now picture that smaller.
What you probably don’t imagine is a tiny, North American mouse called the grasshopper mouse! The Prusten Project's Dana Green, volunteer coordinator and PhD student, studied vocal communication in grasshopper mice, applying much of what she learned to the larger tigers! Dana studied the long-distance vocalization of grasshopper mice. She explored how their vocalization travels across the landscape and whether their hearing physiology was “tuned in” to those vocalizations. Like tigers (and unlike most other mice) grasshopper mice are predatory, solitary, and have large home ranges. When they make their iconic vocalization, the stand on their hind feet, throw their head back, and HOWL! This trait gave them the nickname the “wolf of the mouse world”.
So even between mammals as different as a mouse and a tiger, there are some amazing similarities. As researchers, it is important to apply whatever knowledge and skill we have to other animals, exemplified here. As always, it is also important to remember that not all who ROAR are large.
Dana Green, volunteer coordinator and PhD student, with a mouse in Arizona