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MAMMALS » SMALL
White-footed Deermouse

White-footed Deermouse
Peromyscus leucopus

This mouse, which occurs state-wide, is one of the most abundant mammals in the forests of Tennessee.

Description:
A small rodent with large, black eyes, large ears, and long, coarse whiskers. Color usually ranges from 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. Sparsely furred tails have a darker upper half and lighter lower half, but do not have a sharp contrast between the two surfaces. Tails are about one-half the total length of the body and lack a tuft of hairs at the tip.
Length: 5.5 - 8.4 inches
Tail: 2.5 - 4.0 inches
Ears: 0.6 - 0.8 inches
Weight: 0.4 - 1.0 ounces

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

Habitat:
Primarily found in forests and around forest edges, but can be found in a variety of habitats including scrubland, oldfields, and fencerows.

Diet:
Omnivorous; primarily eating seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, insects, and grains when available. One of its favorite foods is black cherry pits.

Breeding information:
The peak of the White-footed Deermouse breeding activity is early spring through late summer. Some females may have as many as 5 litters per year. Gestation lasts 22-25 days and typically 1-8 young (average 4) are born per litter. Newborn are blind, pink, and weight about 2 grams. Females nurse them until they are weaned at 2-3 weeks old.

Status in Tennessee:
A common species in woodland habitat; no conservation concerns.

Fun Facts:

  • White-footed Deermice often convert old bird nests into homes by constructing roofs on top of them.
  • They are good climbers and spend a large part of their lives in trees.

Best places to see in Tennessee: Along the edges of woodlands or fencerows with scattered brush piles.

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.