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MAMMALS » SMALL
Meadow Jumping Mouse

Meadow Jumping Mouse
Zapus hudsonius

The Meadow Jumping Mouse, which can be found state-wide, is well suited for making long leaps to escape danger with its long hind feet and very long tail.

Description
: A small rodent with elongated hind feet and a distinctively long tail, which is 1½ times the total body length. The long, coarse fur is yellowish-orange along the sides with a wide, darker brown band along the center of the back. Feet and belly color are whitish to pale yellow. Some black hairs are mixed in with the fur on the back and the tip of the tail has a tiny tuft of black hair.
Length: 7.0 - 9.3 inches
Tail: 4.0 - 5.8 inches
Ears: 0.5 - 0.8 inches
Weight: 0.5 - 1.0 ounces

Similar Species:
Woodland Jumping Mouse has a white-tipped tail.

Habitat
: Meadow Jumping Mice prefer open-grassy fields, but also use hay fields, shrubby fields, fence rows, and edges of woods. They are frequently found in moist areas or near water.

Diet:
They primarily eat grass seeds, but they also feed on fruit, berries, roots, and green plants. Some animal foods like insects, spiders, and snails are eaten.

Breeding information:
Breeding begins as soon as they emerge from hibernation in May, and continues until August. Females can raise as many as 3 litters during that time period. Litters ranging from 1-9 (typically 5-6) young are born after a gestation of 18 days. Fur develops on the young by 2 weeks and they are weaned by 4 weeks.

Status in Tennessee:
Meadow Jumping Mice are uncommon, and are Deemed in Need of Management by both TWRA and Tennessee Department or Environment and Conservation.

Fun Facts
:

  • Meadow Jumping Mice, along with Woodland Jumping Mice, are the only 2 mice to hibernate in Tennessee. After increasing body weight in the preceding months, they dig a hole in a dirt mound and build a nest sometime in October. They emerge in late April or May after a deep sleep.

Best places to see in Tennessee: Moist open-grassy fields.

For more information:

Sources:
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.