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Range Map

Cotton Deermouse

Cotton Deermouse
Peromyscus gossypinus

This rodent, which is the largest of the Peromyscus species in Tennessee, occurs all across the state.

: 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 slightly less than one-half the total length of the body and lack a tuft of hairs at the tip.
Length: 6.4 - 8.3 inches
Tail: 2.8 - 4.0 inches
Ears: 0.7 inches
Weight: 0.75 - 1.6 ounces

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

: Typical habitat is moist, timbered river bottoms or swamps. Also found in caves and cliff crevices.

Majority of their food is animal matter (beetles, larvae, etc), but they also eat seeds, nuts, fruits, and domestic grains when available.

Breeding information:
Breeding activity is most active from fall through spring. Some females may have up to 3-4 litters per year. Gestation usually lasts 23 days, but may be longer in females nursing young. Litter sizes can range from 1-7 young (average 3-4). As with the other Peromyscus species, the young are naked and blind at birth. The young are weaned at 20-25 days old.

Status in Tennessee:
No conservation concerns as this mouse is common in moist wooded areas.

Fun Facts

  • A Cotton Deermouse tends to run more than leap.

Best places to see in Tennessee: Along the wooded river bottoms of the western coastal plains.

For more information:

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.