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White-Footed Mouse
(Peromyscus leucopus Fischer)

From: Saunders, D. A. 1988. Adirondack Mammals. State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry. 216pp.

Order: Rodentia

Family: Cricetidae

Description: Unlike the deer mouse which it closely resembles, the white-footed mouse’s fur is not soft and luxuriant, and the general color of the back and sides is a reddish or orangish, not grayish, brown. A darkish brown stripe occurs along the middle of the back from the head to tail. The tail is shorter than the combined head-body length, is paler but not white below, and does not end in a tuff of white hairs. In other respects the white-footed mouse is similar to the deer mouse. The throat, belly, and feet are white; the ears thin, sparsely furred, and prominent. The black, beady eyes protrude and the whiskers are long and conspicuous. The average size of an adult is 176 mm (6.9 in) in total length and 21 g (0.7 oz) in weight.

Range and Habitat: This species is not as widespread as the deer mouse, and occurs throughout much of the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. (except for the Southeast) and much of eastern Mexico. The range of the white-footed mouse barely extends into Canada in a few provinces. White-footed mice are most abundant in the Adirondack lowlands along the periphery of the Park in brushy, grassy fields, and especially in the drier forests and woodlands which support oaks and hickories. However, they are also found in other habitats such as coniferous, and mixed forests, bogs, and swamp edges, to elevations of at least 1484 m (4867 ft). While the deer mouse is more abundant at higher elevations, and the white-footed mouse at lower, both coexist at intermediate altitudes which offer the greatest variety of tree species. The white-footed mouse appears to use underground nest sites more than the deer mouse.

Additional References

Kirkland, G.L., Jr. and E.A. Malinowski. 1984. Biogeography of sympatric Peromyscus in northern New York. Canadian Field Naturalist, 98:440 – 443.

Madison, D.M., J.P. Hill, and P.E. Gleason. 1984. Seasonality in the nesting behavior of Peromyscus leucopus. American Midland Naturalist, 112:201 – 204.


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