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Range Map

Woodland Jumping Mouse

Woodland Jumping Mouse
Napaeozapus insignis

This excellent jumper, and good swimmer, occurs in the mountains of eastern and middle Tennessee.

: A small rodent with large hind feet and a distinctively long tail, which is usually white-tipped and bi-colored (brownish-gray above and whitish below). The long, coarse fur is orangish along the sides with a wide, darker brown band along the center of the back. Feet and belly color are white. Some black hairs are mixed in with the fur on the back.
Length: 8.0 - 10.0 inches
Tail: 4.5 - 6.3 inches
Ears: 0.5 - 0.8 inches
Weight: 0.6 - 0.9 ounces

Similar Species:
Meadow Jumping Mouse lacks a white tail tip.

: Prefers moist areas and edges of coniferous and deciduous forests with dense, herbaceous growth.

Omnivorous; primarily eats seeds, berries, fruits, fungi, and insects and their larvae.

Breeding information:
Adults begin breeding as soon as they emerge from their hibernation in late April or May. Females typically raise one litter of 2-7 (usually 4-5) young, and sometimes a second smaller litter, by August or early September. The gestation period is 23-25 days. Globular nests made of grass and leaves are built underground, in a hollow tree, or in a clump of shrubs. The hairless and blind newborns open their eyes at 26 days and they are weaned by 34 days.

Status in Tennessee:
Woodland Jumping Mouse is Deemed in Need of Management by both TWRA and Tennessee Department or Environment and Conservation.

Fun Facts

  • When Woodland Jumping Mice are startled, they start drumming their tails on the ground, and then make several erratic leaps covering 3-4 feet with each leap. They stop suddenly and remain motionless under some cover in an attempt to elude predators.
  • The subterranean fungus Endogone forms about one-third of their diet.

Best places to see in Tennessee: Moist forests of Appalachian Mountains.

For more information:

Harrington, E. and P. Myers. 2004. "Napaeozapus insignis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed August 30, 2011 http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Napaeozapus_insignis.html.

Whitaker, Jr., J. O. 1980. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York.