White-Footed Mouse

February 20, 2013

ANIMALS

ANIMALS, photo by John E Heintz Jr

The University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web says (in part) that Peromyscus leucopus white-footed mouse:

White-footed mice are found throughout most of the eastern United States. The easternmost part of their range extends from Nova Scotia in the north to Virginia in the south. They occur as far west as Saskatchewan and throughout the plains states, extending through eastern Mexico to southern Mexico and the Yucatan peninsula.

White-footed mice live in a wide variety of habitats but are most abundant in warm, dry forests and brushlands at middle elevations. They are the most abundant small rodent in mixed forests in the eastern United States and in brushy areas bordering agricultural lands. In the southern and western portions of their range they are more restricted in distribution, occurring mainly in wooded areas and semi-desert scrub near waterways. In southern Mexico they occur mainly in agricultural areas. They build nests in places that are warm and dry, such as a hollow tree or vacated bird’s nest. Their home ranges vary from 1/2 to 1 1/2 acres with 4 to 12 mice per acre.

…Most white-footed mice live for one year in the wild. This means that there is an almost complete replacement of all mice in the population from one year to the next. Most mortality occurs in the spring and early summer.

White-footed mice are primarily nocturnal. They are mainly solitary and are territorial, though adjacent home ranges do overlap. White-footed mice climb and swim well. Peromyscus leucopus individuals have keen homing instincts. In experiments in which they were captured and let go 2 miles away, they found their way back to where they were captured. When the young are threatened, the mother carries them to safety one at a time by holding them by the neck with her teeth.

A distinctive behavior of P. leucopus is drumming on a hollow reed or a dry leaf with its fore paws. This produces a prolonged musical buzzing, the meaning of which is unclear.

Read on for more and for pictures. Also (if you’re not the sort who will be disturbed by seeing a video of an indoor mouse) see this video of a mouse drumming on a plastic hose.

Check this out on black and see a series of these little guys in John’s Animal Photography slideshow.

More animals on Michigan in Pictures.

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