Federal wildlife managers are proposing to list the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse as an endangered species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service outlined its plan in Thursday's Federal Register. The agency is also proposing to designate critical habitat for the mouse along streams in 12 counties in New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona.
With its large hind feet and long tail, the mouse can jump up to three feet high and swim to avoid predators.
The Fish and Wildlife Service first acknowledged in 2010 that the mouse deserved protection, but a listing proposal languished because the agency was busy with other activities. That prompted legal challenges.
Biologists say the mouse has been found in seven spots in Arizona and nine in New Mexico, one of which stretches up into Colorado.