White-Footed Mouse

Peromyscus leucopus
Chuck Fergus

The white-footed mouse is found statewide; this handsome nocturnal mouse may be the most abundant rodent in Pennsylvania. It looks much like a deer mouse, except that its tail is shorter in relation to its body. The coat is reddish brown above, white on the belly and feet. Length is 6 - 7.5 inches, including a 2.5- to 3.5-inch tail. Weight: 0.6 - 1 ounce. White-footed mice live in shrubby areas, woods, cultivated fields, pastures, rhododendron thickets, fencerows, stream margins, ravines, revegetated strip mines, and in farm buildings and houses. Some authorities believe the white-footed mouse prefers a slightly drier habitat than the deer mouse.

White-footed mice nest in stone walls and rock crevices, under old boards, and in woodchuck burrows, beehives, tree cavities, and the abandoned nests of squirrels and birds. Like deer mice, white-footed mice do not dig burrows but use the runways of other small mammals. They are very agile and can climb trees. Individual home ranges vary from 0.11 - 0.86 acres, with males’ ranges slightly larger than females’. From 1 - 13 white-footed mice may inhabit one acre. White-footed mice eat about a third of their body weight daily, or around 0.2 ounces: seeds, nuts, berries, fungi, green plant matter, insects (chiefly caterpillars and ground beetles), centipedes, snails, and small birds and mice. They cache food in autumn, carrying seeds in their cheek pouches to chambers beneath logs and stumps. They breed from March through October; the three or four annual litters have 3 - 7 young apiece. Females can mate when two months old. Males sometimes help females rear the young.

PrintEmail

Pennsylvania Game Commission
Bureau of Wildlife Management
Attn: Mammal Atlas Coordinator
2001 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, PA 17110
MammalAtlas@pa.gov
Pennsylvania Game Commission
Bureau of Wildlife Management
717-787-5529