|The Mammals of Texas -
Coues' Rice Rat
Rodentia : Family Muridae : Oryzomys
Description. Similar to 0. palustris, but pelage shorter and color ochraceous buffy
or ochraceous tawny instead of grayish brown; underparts
buffy instead of whitish. External measurements average:
total length, 297 mm; tail, 161 mm; hind foot, 34 mm.
Distribution in Texas. A Mexican
form reaching the United States in the lower Rio Grande
Valley in Cameron and Hidalgo counties.
Habits. Coues rice rats
have been captured in cattail-bulrush marshes and
aquatic, grassy zones near resacas (oxbow lakes) in
Hidalgo County. Apparently, riparian woodland and
subtropical evergreen woodland near the resacas are
avoided, or at least inhabited less commonly. Likewise,
brushland habitats near resacas are not frequently used.
They build their nests in cattails and
small trees near or above water. Nests are constructed of
leaves, twigs, small vines, and cattail, all finely
shredded and woven into a globular shape. No information
is available on the reproductive biology of these rats,
nor are their feeding habits known.
Remarks. Due to continued and
extensive land drainage practices for agricultural
purposes in South Texas, these uncommon rodents may be
threatened by significant losses of habitat.
Photo credit: John L. Tveten.