Fun White-Footed Mouse Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 09, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Tehil David
Kids love to read about white-footed mice.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.4 Min

Mice have always fascinated humankind, mainly because of their intelligence. Scientists have also found out that human beings and mice share 97.5% of working DNA.

Hence, it should be really fun to learn about different species of mice that walk the Earth. The white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) is a North American species. Its home range is different parts of Canada, the USA, and southern Mexico.

In Canada, their population can range to Nova Scotia in the north. An abundant population is found in the USA, especially in the Plains states.

The white-footed mice prefer warm, dry forests and can also survive in deserts. When we look at Mexico, the home range of the population is focused on agricultural land. These mice are known for their bicolored body, where the top half has a reddish-brown or gray color, while the underparts are white.

It can have a tail that measures equal in total length to half of its body. It's primarily nocturnal, and hence it hunts for food at night.

These mice don't hibernate in winter, so they hoard seeds and berries before the temperature starts to go down. Insects have been found in the year-round diet of these mice. A great thing about the white-footed mice is that the populations are stable, and the number is rising.

The females can produce 2-4 young mice every year. However, white-footed mice are known carriers of the hantavirus and bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Hence, you should try to stay away from the areas white-footed mice dwell.

Are you interested to know more about these mice? Keep reading to learn interesting white-footed mouse facts. Also, check out the articles on the kangaroo rat and the wood mouse.

White-Footed Mouse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a white-footed mouse?

The white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) is a small rodent species that is also known as a woodmouse.

What class of animal does a white-footed mouse belong to?

The white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) belongs to the class Mammalia, order Rodentia, and to the genus Peromyscus. The rodents belonging to the Peromyscus genus are also commonly known as deer mice.

How many white-footed mice are there in the world?

This species of rodent is regarded as one of the most abundantly found mice, especially in the United States. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the population status of the white-footed mouse in favorable habitats can go up to 57.5 individuals per hectare after a breeding season.

Moreover, the population of this species is getting more abundant, and the mice are also increasing their territory.

Where does a white-footed mouse live?

White-footed mice (P. leucopus) are native to North America. The species is most abundant in the United States; however, it is also found in Canada and Mexico. You can find these rodents in Ontario, Quebec, Labrador, and the Maritime Provinces.

In Mexico, their habitat ranges from the eastern to southern parts of the country, and the Yucatan peninsula in southern Mexico. However, the rodents aren't found along the Gulf Coast. In North American locations, the western home range is said to be from Saskatchewan to Montana.

What is a white-footed mouse's habitat?

The white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) prefer warm, dry forests that are situated in low to mid-elevated lands. However, their habitat may also depend on the geographical location, and some populations are also found in forest areas at higher altitudes, or even in semi-desert regions.

In the United States, these mammals are found on the east coast. The mice restrict themselves to wooded areas and semi-desert regions in the southern and western regions when compared to the northern populations.

While in Mexico, the average habitat range of these mammals is mainly in agricultural areas. In the USA, a considerable number of white-footed mice are seen in New York.

Who do white-footed mice live with?

The white-footed mouse is solitary; hence, its behavior includes hunting and living independently. They can be found roaming in and around trees in wooded areas. These animals tend to be territorial even though their home ranges can overlap at times.

How long does a white-footed mouse live?

White-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) have a short lifespan with a range of between one and three years. Most mice only live to be one year old in the wild.

Most mice die in the spring and summer seasons. As it has a short life, the young male mice reach sexual maturity at just 44 days, and the whole population has to go through changes every year.

How do they reproduce?

One of the most important things about mice is their reproduction as it helps to sustain their population range. The short lifespan of this species has to be compensated with multiple litters that the females can have in a single year.

You will be stunned to know that the females can have up to four litters in a year. The males reach sexual maturity at 44 days of age, while the female reaches sexual maturity around 73 days of age.

The breeding season may differ according to their geographical area. In the northern parts, breeding happens in late summer, but it can be year-round in the southern populations.

The gestation period for a non-lactating female is 22-28 days, however, the gestation period can increase by almost 14 days for a lactating female. The nest is usually made in areas of fallen trees or even in crevices of trees.

The female gives birth to up to nine young mice in the cozy nest. The eyes open in the young mouse after 12-14 days.

Even after the eyes open in the young mice, the female will stay in the nest. The mother also changes the location of her nest if the babies feel threatened.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, the status of the white-footed mouse is of Least Concern, and its population is quite abundant in North America.

White-Footed Mouse Fun Facts

What do white-footed mice look like?

Close-up of a White-footed mouse.

The white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) are known for their distinct white undersides, which are contrasted with the reddish-brown or gray fur on top. Their legs also have white fur.

One of the key things to note is that the physical characteristics of the white-footed mouse are similar to that of the Peromyscus maniculatus, Peromyscus polionotus, and Peromyscus eremicus. However, an easy way to distinguish the white-footed mouse is by its larger size compared to the other Peromyscus species.

Also, this mouse has fur on the soles of its hind feet, especially in the heel region. Moreover, the tail of this species is smaller than that of Peromyscus maniculatus.

Still, their tail is quite big, and their size ranges between 2.5-4 in. With the help of its large tail, this mouse can easily balance and climb different surfaces present in its habitat.

The ears of the white-footed mice tend to be larger than seen in other mice species. Little to no difference is seen in the males and females of this mammal.

How cute are they?

One of the cutest things about mice is their young, as their babies are extremely cute. The pink mice look quite different from what they will become once they grow up into an adult. Even the adults look quite cute with their small size, tiny front paws, and beady eyes.

How do they communicate?

When it comes to communication, mice are one of the most intelligent animals. You can catch mice chattering amongst themselves.

The specialized whiskers or vibrissae act as sensory receptors that help in sensing their surroundings. White-footed mice  (Peromyscus leucopus) are known for a special communication behavior where an individual performs drumming on a dry leaf or hollow reeds with its front paws.

The buzzing created in this process almost sounds like music. Even though scientists are not entirely sure about the reason for this behavior, it is thought to be a unique way of communication.

How big is a white-footed mouse?

The average size of the white-footed mouse is around 5.9-8 in (150-205 mm). It is larger than the deer mouse which has an average size of 3-4 in (76-101.6 mm). Both species are closely related to each other.

How fast can a white-footed mouse run?

White-footed mice are known for being agile and fast runners. Even though not much is known about the exact speed of the white-footed mouse, we can assume that it will have the average speed of the deer mouse group.

The deer mouse has a speed of 3 mph (4.8 kph) which might not seem a lot but is enough for a small mouse. The mouse is quite intelligent, and it can find its way back to its home range even when it's up to two miles away.

How much does a white-footed mouse weigh?

The average weight of the white-footed mouse is 0.5-0.8 oz (15-25 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The white-footed mouse males are known as bucks while the females are known as does.

What would you call a baby white-footed mouse?

The cute baby white-footed mouse is known as a pup or a pinky. Unlike other species, the white-footed mice have a small litter size.

What do they eat?

The white-footed mice are omnivorous rather than carnivores, and most of their diet consists of plant materials. Insects like gypsy moths are eaten as a source of protein.

The mouse likes food like seeds, berries, nuts, fungi, and fruits. The diet and preference of food also depend on the geographical location of the animals.

This isn't a hibernating species, so you can find the mice gathering foods like seeds and nuts to store for the cold winter months. Quite interestingly, the New York population of P. leucopus has developed a more urban diet.

Are they dangerous?

Even though these rats are timid animals, they can still bite a human being if they feel threatened. This is also one of the animals that are known carriers of Lyme disease.

The disease is spread when deer ticks bite the mice who then go on to bite a human being. Hence, it is advised to seek medical help if you have received a bite or scratch from these animals.

Would they make a good pet?

Even though this is an intelligent species of rodent, it is better to let it live in the wild rather than keep it as a pet.

Did you know...

As the white-footed mouse is perceived as a threat to human health, many people will want to get rid of it from their home ranges. One of the easiest ways to stop attracting the white-footed mice population is to close every entry point.

It will include cutting down any shrubs or thickets near its home ranges to deter the mice populations from breeding. Also, make sure to clean the areas near your home and keep the forest land clear. Dustbins should be covered to prevent scavenging.

Finally, it's always recommended to consult a pest removal service if you find nests inside your home. Do not try to handle the mice or the nests on your own.

White-footed mice populations are abundant in Tennessee, USA, and mixed hardwood forest areas present on the eastern coast.

Do all white-footed mice carry Hantavirus?

Yes, the white-footed mouse has been known to be a carrier of hantavirus, just like its close relative, the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus). Hence, one needs to be careful about any encounters that they might have with these mice, as hantavirus can often be fatal to human beings.

What animals eat white-footed mice?

Some of the common predators of white-footed mice include weasels, snakes, birds of prey, and red foxes. Other than that, humans may also kill the animals if they become a pest, especially in agricultural areas.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including nutria rat facts and hoary marmot facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable white-footed mouse coloring pages.

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Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-footed_mouse

https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Peromyscus_leucopus/

https://www.esf.edu/aec/adks/mammals/whitefooted_mouse.htm

https://www.maine.gov/ifw/fish-wildlife/wildlife/species-information/mammals/white-footed-mouse.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3409861/

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Tehil David

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David picture

Tehil DavidBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David Singh is a fact checker with a Bachelor's degree in English literature from St.Xavier's College, Palayamkottai, and a Master's degree in Philosophy, and Religion from Madurai Kamaraj University. He has a passion for writing and hopes to become a story writer in the future. Tehil has previously interned in content writing and has been a content creator for the last three years. In his personal life, he enjoys singing, songwriting, performing, and writing stories.

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