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Cotton Mouse Peromyscus gossypinus


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Cotton Mouse
credit:  work of the United States Federal Government

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Family: Muridae, Mice and Rats view all from this family

Description Medium-sized Peromyscus, dark golden brown above with white underparts and feet. Mid-dorsal area is dusky. Soles of feet have prominent ridges. Tail is shorter than head and body, sparsely haired and dark on upper surface but fading to white underneath. Young animals are grayer.

Dimensions 142-206mm, 55-97mm, 17-46g

Endangered Status The Key Largo Cotton Mouse, a subspecies of the Cotton Mouse, is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in Florida, where it lives on Key Largo. This mouse resides in a particular type of habitat called a tropical hardwood hammock, and mainly in those with mature trees. Many of these woodlands have been destroyed in the Keys to make way for residential and commericial development. Some of the mouse's remaining hammocks have come under the protection of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Department of Natural Resources, and both agencies intend to acquire more of this critical habitat.

Similar Species Larger than Oldfield and North American Deermouse. Also larger than White-footed Deermice of the same age.

Habitat Beaches, shorelines & estuaries, Swamps, marshes & bogs, Lakes, ponds, rivers & streams, Scrub, shrub & brushlands, Forests & woodlands, Canyons & caves

Range Plains, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Florida, Texas

Discussion Good climbers and swimmers, they prefer somewhat wet habitats, especially bottomland hardwood forests, hammocks, and swamps, although they also inhabit drier upland habitats, and sometimes enter buildings. The subspecies from Key Largo (P. g. allapaticola) is endangered.