New Trip Report: Southern California Weekend

Venkat Sankar just had a killer weekend in Southern California and cleaned up on the bats and rodents. About half of these species I have yet to see… Guess who wants to go to California ASAP…?

Southern California Weekend, 2017: Venkat Sankar, 4 days & 26 species including Stephens’ & Dulzura Kangaroo Rats, six species of Pocket Mice,  Arizona Myotis, Western Yellow BatCalifornia Leaf-nosed Bat and Spotted Bat!



  • mac hunter

    Dear Venkat

    I am going to be visiting the San Diego zoo for work in early Dec and would like to look for mammals, especially kangaroo rats, north of there for a few days. Do you have any advice given the season? I expect the bats will be impossible but what about all those rodents you found? Many thanks….mac

    • Venkat Sankar


      I’ve never been mammal watching in that part of CA in early December but based on my experience elsewhere, it is not a very good time to look for heteromyids. Pocket mice will be much more difficult as most exhibit reduced activity during the winter (I rarely see them Nov-Feb). That said, kangaroo rats should still be very possible, just in lower numbers than you would observe in say, Apr-May.

      At that time of year, I would recommend sticking to areas closer to the coast with more moderate climates as while the nights will be cool, kangaroo rats and larger Chaetodipus pocket mice should still be possible to observe. The desert areas further inland around Anza-Borrego SP often get very cold at night at this time of year and are best avoided, as most heteromyids will spend very little time above ground. I think it would probably be worth putting in a night or two of spotlighting at the sites I visited around Hemet for Stephens’ and Dulzura Kangaroo Rats, namely Crown Valley and Thomas Road, respectively. San Diego Pocket Mouse and Northern Baja Mouse should be possible to find as well. When I was there, it was rather cold late at night (around 45 F) but I still observed small numbers of both k-rats.

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