Science and conservation for the world’s 2800 small mammal species

Top 20 Threatened Small Mammals

Think of endangered mammals and most people will think of giant pandas, tigers and organg-utans.  But there are also a jaw-dropping 437 species of small mammal that are currently considered to be globally threatened with extinction.  Among these are those that are on the very brink of extinction – Critically Endangered species.  For some of these species, populations have collapsed down to fewer than 100 individuals and often the entire global range may be just a few hectares on a tiny island or mountaintop.

Here is our list of the ‘Top 20’ threatened small mammals.  All of them require urgent surveys, action-plans and conservation measures. For more information, click on each species to take you to the relevant account on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

 

1. Unicolored tree rat (Phyllomys unicolor)

Red List status:  CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: Brazil

Major threats: Poorly known but assumed to be direct and indirect effects of deforestation

2. Tropical pocket gopher (Geomys tropicalis)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: Mexico

Major threats: Its habitat is severely fragmented by agriculture and industrialization and is vulnerable to the growth of three cities

3. Taita shrew (Suncus aequatorius)

Red List status:  EN

Population trend:  Unknown

Endemic to: Kenya

Major threats: Fragmented or severely degraded habitat due to conversion of forest to agricultural use, including plantations and harvesting of firewood

4. Santa Catarina’s guinea pig (Cavia intermedia)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: Brazil (Moleques Island do Sul)

Major threats: Hunting is presumed a threat and people have free access to the island with little protected area enforcement

5. Russian Desman (Desmana moschata)

Red List status: EN

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: Kazakhstan; Russian Federation; Ukraine

Major threats: Widespread use of fishing nets by poachers, electric landing nets that wipe out the species’ food supply as well as habitat loss and degradation

6. Roig’s tuco-tuco (Ctenomys roigi)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: Argentina

Major threats: A naturally restricted range and continual decline and degradation of habitat

7. Poncelet’s Giant Rat (Solomys ponceleti)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Found: Solomon Islands (Choiseul), Papua New Guinea (Bougainville)

Major threats: Hunting on both islands and Logging, especially selective logging of trees used for nesting

8. Nelson’s woodrat (Neotoma nelsoni)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: Mexico

Major threats: Extensive conversion of habitat to agriculture

9. Okinawa Spiny Rat (Tokudaia muenninki)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: Japan (Okinawa Island)

Major threats: Predation by invasive species such as feral cats, mongooses and black rats as well as deforestation through government programs

10. Malagasy Giant Jumping Rat (Hypogeomys antimena)

Red List status: EN

Population trend: Unknown

Endemic to: Madagascar

Major threats: Habitat loss due to climatic changes and human encroachment; poaching; feral cats and dogs

11. Kondana soft-furred rat (Millardia kondana)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: India

Major threats: Loss of habitat, overgrazing of vegetation and disturbance from tourism

12. Ixtlán deer mouse (Habromys ixtlani)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: Mexico

Major threats: Deforestation

13. Cozumel harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys spectabilis)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: Mexico

Major threats: Competition from introduced house rats and mice, predation from introduced feral dogs, cats, and Boa constrictor

14. Coronados deer mouse (Peromyscus pseudocrinitus)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: Mexico

Major threats: Predation by introduced feral cats

15. Vancouver Island Marmot (Marmota vancouverensis)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: Canada (Vancouver Island)

Major threats: Predation and indirect affects of logging

16. Monserrat Island Deermouse (Peromyscus caniceps)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: Mexico (Montserrat Island)

Major threats: Predation by feral cats

17. Bolivian Chinchilla Rat (Abrocoma boliviensis)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: Bolivia

Major threats: Habitat fragmentation due to clearance of cloud forest for cattle pasture and human settlement along a road through its range

18. Biak giant rat (Uromys boeadii)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: Indonesia

Major threats: Presumably hunted for food by local people as well as habitat loss through deforestation for timber and conversion for cultivation

19. Bavarian Pine Vole (Microtus bavaricus)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: Austria

Major threats: Habitat loss

20. Andaman white-toothed shrew (Crocidura andamanensis)

Red List status: CR

Population trend: Decreasing

Endemic to: India (Andaman Island)

Major threats: Habitat loss due to anthropogenic activities