Katy on the road in Nevada

The Spring Mountains

In August 2010, Matt Miller, my kids and I spent a night in the Spring Mountains, about an hour from Las Vegas, on the advice of John Fox to look for Palmer’s and Panamint Chipmunks. John’s advice was spot-on and we found both species within a few minutes of looking in the early morning.

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel, Callospermophilus lateralis

Palmer’s Chipmunks are common around the McWilliams campsite at the end of Highway 156, off of Highway 95, north west of Las Vegas. There are Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels here too, and I caught a Gambel’s Deer Mouse. We also saw a Feral Donkey on Highway 156 on the way in.

Palmer’s Chipmunk, Neotamias palmeri

Close by, a couple of Panamint Chipmunks were running around on the rocky scree slope opposite the entrance to the Deer Creek Picnic Area on Highway 158, a few minutes from the McWilliams Campsite. They were far more skittish than the Palmer’s.

Panamint Chipmunk, Tamias panamintinus

In July 2012 Charles Hood sent me an update:“Palmer’s and Panamint Chipmunks remain easy to see in Lee Canyon, north of Las Vegas, in and around the upper campgrounds. Note that through 2014 there will be rotating campground and road closures as the US Forest Service carries out maintenance projects. Updates supposedly will be posted on their website.”


Little Pocket Mouse, Perognathus longimembris

In September 2017 I spent a night in the small town of Dyer, primarily to look for Pale Kangaroo Mice (which Venkat Sankar saw there). I didn’t find any, but did catch my first Little Pocket Mouse, Gambel’s Deer Mice and Ord’s/Merriam’s Kangaroo Rats. I saw multiple rodents running acoss the roads at night, none of which I could ID with any certainty. There were White-tailed Antelope Squirrels around in the day time.

I returned in June 2020 and saw a Pale Kangaroo  Mouse though not as well as I wanted to.

Death Valley

In December 2014 I returned to Nevada for a weekend. Spotlighting in the high desert around Beatty looking for rodents was a dead loss: it was cold and wet. In better weather there would have been chances for several kangaroo rat species and various pocket mice. The next morning I drove through Death Valley and the scenery almost made the trip worthwhile, even if the only mammal was a Coyote at the side of the road.

Coyote, Canis latrans

Community Reports

California & Death Valley, 2023: John Wright, 1 week & 27 species including Giant and Panamint Kangaroo Rats, Island Fox and Northern Right Whale Dolphins.

California and Oregon and briefly Nevada, June 2020: Jon Hall with mammals including Long-tailed Weasel, Humboldt’s Flying Squirrel, Camas Pocket Gopher and – in Nevada – a Pale Kangaroo Mouse.

Eastern Sierras, 2017: Jon Hall, 2 days & mammals including Alpine Chipmunk, Dark Kangaroo Mouse, Little Pocket Mouse and Spotted Bat.

Eastern Sierras, 2017: Venkat Sankar, 3 days & 29 species including Spotted BatPale and Dark Kangaroo Mice and Merriam’s Shrew.

California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah & Nevada, 2017: Jan Ebr, 4 weeks & 31 species including GrizzlyWolf and a variety of chipmunks.

Western USA, 2017: Romain Bocquier, 40 days & 84 species including Hooded SkunkFisher and Banner-tailed Kangaroo Rat.

Western USA, 2015: Michael Kessler, 6 weeks & 88 species(!) including Spotted Bat, Northern Right Whale Dolphins, Long-tailed and Water Voles, Wolf and Long-tailed Weasel.

South West Great Basin, May 2015: Vladimir Dinets account of a few days around Mono Lake looking for rodents. Species include Dark Kangaroo Mouse, Panamint and Chisel-toothed Kangaroo Rat and Long-tailed Pocket Mouse.

Arizona, New Mexico & Nevada, 2013: Richard Webb, 10 days & 40 species including Ringtail, Badger, Black-footed Ferret, Desert Pocket Gopher and Bushy-tailed Woodrat.

Also See

Panamint Kangaroo Rat site in southern Nevada, June 2023

Marietta Wild Burro Range, Sept 2013

Feral Equids in Nevada, June 2013

Western US – Swift Fox NM, Black Footed Ferret AZ, Ruby Mtns, NV, June 2012

Leave a Reply