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White-footed Mouse Peromyscus leucopus


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White-footed Mouse
credit:  D. Gordon E. Robertson/CCSA

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

Description Small, grayish to brownish mouse, frequently with dark stripe along mid-back, and white underparts. Tail sparsely haired and indistinctly bicolored, tuft of hairs on tip less than 5mm long.

Dimensions 150-205mm, 65-95mm, 15-25g

Warning White-footed Mice are carriers of the ticks that cause Lyme disease. These ticks are tiny and their nymphs are almost microscopic; both nymphs, active May through July, and adults, active on warm days from August through May, can be infectious. They inhabit woods and fields, and occur on both deer and mice. Lyme disease is a dangerous bacterial illness. Initial symptoms vary, but about 75 to 80 percent of all victims develop a circular, expanding, bulls-eye-shaped red rash around the tick bite, up to 35 days after the bite. Other symptoms include stiff neck, headache, dizziness, fever, sore throat, muscle aches, joint pain, and general weakness. Antibiotics are most effective in early stages of infection. Untreated Lyme disease can be difficult to cure, and may cause chronic arthritis, memory loss, and severe headaches.

Similar Species Very similar to other species of Peromyscus: North American Deermouse typically has a distinctly bicolored tail (although not in the northeastern United States); Cotton Deermouse has a longer hind foot; Oldfield Deermouse is smaller and pale cinnamon to almost white in color, and Brush, White-ankled, Piñon, Saxicoline, Northern Rock, and Texas Deermouse all have longer tails.

Habitat Meadows & fields, Scrub, shrub & brushlands, Grasslands & prairies, Forests & woodlands, Cities, suburbs & towns

Range Plains, Great Lakes, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Southwest, Texas, Eastern Canada, Western Canada

Discussion Favors warm dry forests at low to mid-elevations. This is the most common Peromyscus in eastern mixed deciduous and coniferous forests, and it also frequents the edges of agricultural areas, where it forages in the fields.