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Range Map
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MAMMALS » SMALL
North American Deermouse

North American Deermouse
Peromyscus maniculatus

This species is found statewide in two different forms. The short-tailed form (P. m. bardii) occurs in West Tennessee, while the long-tailed form (P. m. nubiterrae) lives in the eastern part of the state.

Description
: A small rodent with large, black eyes, large ears, and long, coarse whiskers. Although color varies among individuals, most are grayish to reddish-brown above, often with a darker band down the center of the back. The feet, lower part of the face, and the undersides are white, which sharply contrasts from upper color. Well-furred tails are distinctly bi-colored in most specimens with the top darker and the bottom white; they have a slight tuft of hair at the tip and are from 1/3 to less than 1/2 the total body length.
Length: 4.4 - 8.0 inches
Tail: 1.6 - 3.9 inches
Ears: 0.5 - 0.9 inches
Weight: 0.33 - 1.0 ounces

Similar Species:
North American Deermouse cannot reliably be separated from White-footed Deermouse and Cotton Deermouse without detailed analysis of skull and dental formations, and possibly an expert.

Habitat
: The short-tailed form (P. m. bardii) occurs primarily in early successional habitat, such as prairies, pastures, and fencerows. The long-tailed form (P. m. nubiterrae) lives in woodland habitat.

Diet:
Primarily feeds on insects, seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, fungi, and domestic grains.

Breeding information:
They generally mate twice a year, during fall and spring. Females may have 4 or more litters per year. Gestation lasts 21-23 days and typically 1-9 young (average 3-4) are born per litter. Females nurse the blind, flesh-colored, naked newborns until they are weaned at 2-3 weeks old.

Status in Tennessee:
Neither of the two forms is protected in the state. Deermice are common in their preferred habitat.

Fun Facts
:

  • The genus name Peromyscus means "pouched little mouse," referring to the small cheek pouches of these field mice.

Best places to see in Tennessee: Open and edge habitat in the western part of the state and forests in eastern Tennessee.

For more information:

Sources:
Bunker, A. 2001. "Peromyscus maniculatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Peromyscus_maniculatus.html

Schwartz, C.W. and E.R. Schwartz. 2001. The Wild Mammals of Missouri, 2nd Edition. University of Missouri Press and Missouri Department of Conservation, Columbia, MO.