Vol 5 No. 48 - August 17, 2005
Officials say beach mice would be nice
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH It might be the ultimate irony.
Mickey Mouse brought development to central Florida and
now a threatened species of mice might bring land preservation
to the forefront.
The sand dune and vegetation projects on the beaches are
working. Dunes topped with sea grasses are thriving in
areas that used to be barren, forming what city officials
hope will be a natural barrier against beachfront erosion
when storms hit the Island.
These dunes may be home to an endangered species of animal
that is being pushed out of its natural habitats by development.
Like the dunes themselves, beach mice may become a barrier
to beachfront development.
Members of the Scenic Highway Committee discussed beach
mice last week. They were told that the animals were reportedly
seen on the beach near Gulf Drive and Cortez Road, but
nobody has brought forth any evidence. The city would
like to find volunteers who might want to gather on the
beach and photograph them.
"I need three volunteers who would like to go out
at dusk and look for them," said Tjet Martin, a beachfront
resident. "We need three witnesses before we can
get some help from the state to preserve them."
That help could come from a grant to purchase land that
serves as habitat for the mice. In the past, the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Service offered grants to purchase up
to 75 percent of habitat land. Of course, beach mice like
to live on the beach and so do humans, so purchasing a
piece of Gulf front land in Bradenton Beach could be an
expensive undertaking. Nonetheless, Martin and others
would love to know if the little critters are out there
on those dunes. The more beachfront land the city could
purchase, the fewer beachfront properties could be built
to block the view of the Gulf. The city's diminishing
view of the water from Gulf Drive is one subject that
has come up repeatedly in visioning sessions and Scenic
Currently, the only piece of beachfront land for sale
near where the beach mice have reportedly been seen is
the property where Trader Jack's used to sit and its price
tag is $25 million.
According to a research paper from the University of Florida
Extension Office, field mice live in dunes just above
the high tide line. Their main threats are coastal development
that destroys the dunes. They often live in holes abandoned
Beach mice are nocturnal animals that feed at night and
sleep in their burrows during the day. They feed on seeds
that have fallen from sea oats or climb the plants to
harvest seeds still on the stem. They help to distribute
sea oat seeds through their droppings.
Beach mice are monogamous and live an average of nine
months to a year. They have the ability to disburse several
kilometers from their birthplace, giving them a relatively
wide distribution potential. They prefer to construct
their burrows in mature, sparsely vegetated dunes adjacent
to the high tide line and the more densely vegetated dunes
Martin said she would be glad to go out with any volunteers
to document the mice, as long as they have three witnesses.
Call city hall at 778-1005 if you're interested.
Go back to Index August 17
Go back to Index archives
us | News
Island | Subscription
Store | Classified