This photograph depicts a cotton rat, Sigmodon hispidus, whose habitat includes the southeastern United States, and way down into Central and South America. Its body is larger than the North American deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus, and measures about 5 - 7 inches, which includes the head and body; the tail measures an additional 3 - 4 inches. Its hair is longer, and coarser than P. maniculatus, and is a grayish-brown color, sometimes grayish-black. The cotton rat prefers overgrown areas with shrubs and tall grasses. S. hispidus is a known hantavirus carrier.