Teeny rodent Sir Patrick Stewart sets world's record as oldest mouse in human care, Guinness confirms

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A tiny California mouse named after “Star Trek" actor Patrick Stewart achieved the Guinness World record for longevity.

The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance announced Wednesday that a Pacific pocket mouse named Pat — born July 14, 2013, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park under a conservation breeding program — received Guinness approval as the oldest living mouse in human care at the age of 9 years and 209 days.

The endangered species, which weighs as much as three pennies and is the smallest mouse in North America, was presumed extinct for two decades because of human encroachment and habitat destruction, the alliance said.

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In 1994, small, isolated populations were rediscovered in Orange County — allowing a breeding program to launch in 2012 to conserve the species. The alliance recorded a record 31 litters and 117 pups born in 2022 — many of whom will be reintroduced to the wild this spring.

A new population of Pacific pocket mice that began breeding without human assistance was established in Orange County’s Laguna Coast Wilderness Park in 2017, the alliance added.

These mice have a small but mighty presence that is critical to the local ecosystem: disbursement of native plant seeds and digging, which promotes plant growth, the alliance said.

“This recognition is so special for our team, and is significant for the species,” said Debra Shier, who established and oversees the conservation program. “It’s indicative of the dedication and incredible care we as an organization provide for each species, from the largest to the very smallest.”

Contributing: Associated Press

Camille Fine is a trending visual producer on USA TODAY's NOW team.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Oldest pacific pocket mouse in the world lives in San Diego: Guinness