Scientific Discovery at Bosque School

A scientific discovery on our campus doesn’t happen every day—but August 30, 2021 was no typical day at Bosque School. On that day, Dylan ‘23 sighted the first-ever scientific documentation of the Hispid Cotton Rat (Sigmodon hispidus) in Bernalillo County on our campus. 
 
After hearing rustling noises in the bushes, Dylan made the first sighting of the small rat. “I thought it was cool and unexpected. I just got lucky,” he shared. Following the sighting, Bosque School wildlife and conservation biology students set twenty Sherman traps, checking them every 90-minutes until they live-captured two Hispid Cotton Rats. Before safely releasing them, they took photos, measurements, and hair samples for species identification. 
 
The discovery has been accepted by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and added to their Biota Information System of New Mexico (BISON-M) species database
 
Mr. Shaw explained, “The species has been well documented in southern New Mexico and as far north as Valencia County. However, its presence and detection in more northern latitudes could be caused by any number of variables including, and certainly not limited to, climate emergency.”
 
Needless to say, Bosque School is home to a new record. We are incredibly proud of our students and their dedication and curiosity, as well as our teachers who create space for these types of discoveries to take place. Dylan said, “I want to shout out to Mr. Shaw for offering such a cool class.” We could not agree more—learning about rat species has reached a new level of cool thanks to Mr. Shaw and his wildlife and conservation biology class.
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