We measured habitat characteristics at 34 arboreal nest sites of golden mice (Ochrotomys nuttalli) and 34 paired random sites from May-Sept. 1997. Microhabitat was significantly different between the two types of sites. Arboreal nest sites differed from random sites in 5 of the 12 habitat characteristics measured including: more climbing vines and woody vegetation, greater horizontal vegetative cover as measured by a density board at a distance of both 3 m and 6 m from the nest and closer to understory trees. The presence of thick vegetation at arboreal nest sites may provide increased protection from predators, increased substrate for attachment of nests, protection from inclement weather and thermoregulatory advantages. Management strategies that increase the density of understory vegetation in areas where golden mice occur will enhance populations by improving nesting habitat and increasing recruitment and survival.
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