Deer Mice




Deer mice differ from white-footed mice by having soft, lush fur that is grey on the upper parts of the body with a uniformly coloured back or a faint darker stripe along the middle. The tail is dark above and white below and is as long or longer than the combined lengths of the head and body with a tuft of white hairs at the tip. The lower parts of the body and feet of the deer mouse and white footed mouse are white with both having prominent, scantily-furred, thin ears, coarse whiskers, and black, bulging eyes. An average sized deer mouse is 184 mm (7.2 in) in total length, and weighs 21 g (0.7 oz).

Range and Habitat
The range is continent-wide, from Alaska to southern Mexico, except for the south-eastern U.S. Mixed and mature forest with sparse ground cover with fallen foliage and rip fruits harbour the largest populations of deer mice. Deer mice build round or cup-shaped nests from shredded plant fibres, fur, feathers under logs, stumps, rocks in the abandoned dens of other mammals but prefer natural hollows of tress.
Food and Feeding Behaviour
Deer mice are omnivorous and use its sharp incisors to gnaw through the hard coats of seeds and the exoskeleton of beetles. Small invertebrates such as insects, earthworms, and snails form an important part of the summer diet. Fungi, fruit, and even decaying flesh are other foods. Deer mice store food such as seeds in particular, in holes in the ground, in tree cavities, and even in bird nests, storing up to 0.6 L (1 pt) in each place for later use. Regardless of autumn fat deposition and food hoarding, winter starvation is a chief cause of deer mice dying.
Activity and Movement
Deer mice are nocturnal and are most active at twilight. In winter, activity takes place mostly under snow rather than on its surface with severe cold limiting travel to the vicinity of the nest, or at least restricts activity to the nest for a few days. Deer mice climb well, can swim, and may forage in shallow water. The usual means of movement is walking or running, but when chased, deer mice leap.

The deer mouse breeding season is from late March through to October and each female produces 2-4 litters. After a gestation period of 21-37 days a female gives birth to 3-11 young. The new born mice pups are naked, pink, blind, and each weighs about 1.8 g (0.06 oz). The pups eyes open at 14 days, and they disperse up to 183 meters (600 ft) to create their own home ranges soon after being weaned at 21-28 days. Young deer mice become sexually matured at 35-60 days, and females may produce litters by the end of their first summer. Death of young deer mice is high, and even adults rarely live more that 1 to 2 half years.
All predators of small mammals prey on deer mice. Some examples are hawks, owls, snakes, short-tailed shrews, foxes, minks, weasels, bobcats and coyotes.
Social Behaviour
Social System - During the reproductive season, faithful pairs may live in the same nest or the female may drive her companion away, caring for the young unassisted. In some cases, the male stays with older young while the female moves to a new nest to give birth to the next litter. Though normally solitary except for the breeding season, as many as 15 individuals may share one nest during severe cold spells. Adults are inactive and occupy small home ranges which average 0.5 hectares (1.25 acres) for males and 0.3 hectares (0.75 acres) for females. Home ranges of opposite sexes may overlap, but not those of the same sex.
Communication - Deer mice communicate with visual signals using posture, tactile such as mutual grooming, chemical and vocal signals. Vocal signals include shrieks, squeaks, trills, and sharp buzzing. A deer mouse that is disturbed may stamp its front feet rapidly, and vibrate the tail to produce a drumming noise.

A mouse can be annoying where mice can be a bigger problem! Getting rid of mice can be done in many ways such as the use of traps that kill or catch and poisons. Controlling mice in and around your home must be taken seriously as they can introduce illnesses to your family as well as transfer fleas to pets.

  • Mice will normally sleep for over 12 hours a day.
  • Mice eat, or at least chew anything that is softer than their teeth.
  • Mice are very neat as they will sleep, eat and defecate in different places.
  • Mice do not like rats as rats are known to prey on mice however in the wild they do live together.
  • Mice can jump straight up to about 18 inches and are also very good climbers and swimmers.
  • A male mouse is called a buck.
  • A female mouse is called a doe.
  • The offspring of mice are called pups or kitten.
  • A group of mice are called a family, horde or a nest.
  • A wild mouse will live no longer than 1 year.
  • A pet mouse may live for between 2 and 3 years.
  • A mouse’s tail is almost as long as its body.
  • Mice do not see in colour.
  • Mice are nocturnal creatures.
  • Mice can and will chew through anything softer than their teeth.
  • Mice cause more than 1 billion dollars’ worth of damage in the US alone each year.

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