Not the average house mouse: Topsail rangers protect Choctawhatchee Beach Mouse

Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 02:37 PM.

"The beach mouse is endangered because of a lack of habitat," Roberts explained. "They solely live in the sand dunes on the beach. And where does everyone want to go during their vacation to Florida ?"

Hurricane Ivan caused a lot of trouble to the beach mouse, wiping out its habitat, Roberts said. Many park rangers were visibly upset when they came back to the beach to find the sand dunes were gone. Roberts even admits to shedding a few tears.

"After the hurricane, snow fences were built and more than 1 million sea oats were planted, since then the habitat has rebuilt awesomely," Roberts said.

But it's not just acts of nature that have driven the beach mouse out of house and home. Waterfront developments and condos have taken their toll on the endangered critters as well.

"Some people may ask, 'It's just a mouse, right?' " said Roberts. "They're a part of our ecosystem, specifically our dune ecosystem. We can actually tell if our coastal dunes are healthy by the amount of beach mice."

Caring about the welfare of something so small is the same as caring for the welfare of any living thing, explained Roberts.

"The beach mouse, I do believe, is cute and I'm not a soft and cuddly type of person," he said. " It doesn't matter how little or big they are. Beach mice have been around for 10,000 years. It's up to us to ensure that they're still around for our grandkids and their grandkids.”

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