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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.

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.

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

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:

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.