A new Guinness World Record was set by a remarkable record-breaker: an incredibly tiny California mouse named after Patrick Stewart. But its fame isn't for its size but rather its age...
The Pacific pocket mouse, the smallest in North America, tips the scales at about three pennies with its impressive feat of longevity! This particular member of the species, Pat the Pacific pocket mouse, received Guinness World Records' approval for being named as the oldest living mouse in human care. With an age reaching 9 years and 209 days at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance's care, this furry creature has broken records inspired by Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart!
Enor-mouse news 🐭 At 9 years & 209 days old, Pat the Pacific pocket mouse is officially the oldest living mouse in human care & was honored with the @GWR title today. This news is a big win for the tiny endangered species & will help raise awareness about wildlife conservation. pic.twitter.com/poVsw8jqjL— San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (@sandiegozoo) February 9, 2023
On July 14, 2013, Pat, the tiny but mighty rodent was born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park! Weighing as little as three pennies and with cheek pouches for carrying food & nesting materials, this conservation-bred species is not only North America's smallest mouse – it also packs quite an impressive punch. The species once roamed widely, stretching from Los Angeles down to the Tijuana River Valley. However new research reveals a severe decline in numbers beginning in 1932 as humans take over their habitat and destroy it. After two decades without sight or sound of it, the species was discovered to be clinging on in tiny populations. To ensure its future survival, an alliance spearheaded a breeding program that successfully produced 117 pups across 31 litters last year – soon enough for them to re-enter their native wild habitats come springtime.
In 2017, a previously unknown population of Pacific pocket mice was discovered thriving without human assistance in Orange County's Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. This species is essential to the local ecosystem thanks to their role as seed dispersers and creators of aerated soil for native plants - yet they remain underappreciated contributors that rarely get recognition! “This recognition is so special for our team, and is significant for the species,” said Debra Shier, who founded and supervises the conservation program. “It’s indicative of the dedication and incredible care we as an organization provide for each species, from the largest to the very smallest.” We salute their compassion in helping these furry friends; it's heartwarming to see people rallying around animals in need!