Learn More about Mice

White-footed Mouse Guide

white footed mouse
Written by David Johnson

White-footed mouse is member of the Peromyscus family, which includes a number of other small mouse species with white feet and undersides. The white-footed mouse and its cousin, the house mouse, are very closely related.

White-footed mice are found mainly in Canada and the northeastern United States. The white feet of these mice contrast with their dark grey coat, earning them the name.

White-footed mice are fearful of humans and avoid them. They are omnivorous in the wild, consuming both seeds and insects. They will, however, feast themselves on any leftover food they may locate in your home.

White-Footed Mouse Identification

White-footed mice are 150-205 mm long and have a tail length of 65-95 mm. They are 15-25 g in weight. The upper body is light to dark reddish-brown, while the feet and belly are white. Other Peromyscus species have similar appearances or ranges but differ in tail length or mass.

white footed mouse

The white-footed mouse’s fur is not smooth and lush like the deer mouse it closely resembles. The back and sides are an orangish or reddish-brown, not greyish brown. From its head to the tail, a darkish brown stripe runs down the middle of the back.

Their tail is shorter than the combined length of their head and body. It is paler but not white beneath and does not culminate in a tuff of white hairs. 

The white-footed mouse is similar to the deer mouse in several ways. The belly, feet, and throat are white, and they have thin, sparsely furred, and prominent ears. The whiskers are long and noticeable, and the black, beady eyes protrude.

White-Footed Mouse Habitat

White-footed mice habitat in low to mid-elevation brushlands and forests where it is warm and dry. They may live in a range of environments, including higher elevation forests and semi-desert areas. 

They thrive in both residential and agricultural areas because of their adaptability. White-footed mice are common rodents in the eastern United States brushy regions near croplands and mixed forests.

In the western and southern parts of their range, they have restricted habitats. They also live in forest regions and semi-desert scrubs. They are found in southern Mexico’s agricultural areas. White-footed mice build their homes in warm, dry places such as hollow trees or abandoned bird nests.

Indoors, they can be found in cabinet voids, unused furniture, where there is a lot of moisture, like attics,  garages, crawl spaces, and cellars.

White-footed Mouse Behavior

White-footed mice are active at night. Although their home ranges commonly overlap, they are solitary and territorial. White-footed mice are excellent climbers and swimmers. They also have a good sense of direction and can return to a specific area from a distance of up to 2 miles.

They use whiskers to touch the world around them. When baby white-footed mice are endangered, their mother carries them to safety one by one, clutching their necks in her teeth.

White-footed mice have a unique behavior of drumming on a dry leaf or hollow reed with their forepaws. It results in a continuous musical hum, the meaning of which is unknown.

White-footed Mouse Food Habits

White-footed mice are omnivorous. They mainly eat berries, seeds, insects, nuts, fruits, grains, and fungi. To prepare for the winter, white-footed mice collect and store nuts and seeds in the fall.

White-footed Mouse Breeding Season and Life Span

Except for the breeding season, which runs from March to October in the north and all year in the south, white-footed mice are not social animals. The gestation period is 22 to 28 days, and the young are nursed until they are weaned. 

The mice are born blind and hairless, with their eyes opening after 10 days and their ears after 12 days. The white-footed mouse has a mature mating age of 44 days. One mouse can have around 36 babies in a year.

In the wild, most white-footed mice live for a year. It implies that from one year to the next, the mice population is almost replaced. In the spring and early summer, the majority of deaths occur. White-footed mice, on the other hand, can live for several years in captivity.

Is White-footed Mouse Dangerous?

Mice, like all rodents, can carry a range of illnesses, and the presence of biological materials such as their urine, droppings, and fur can cause infections to spread or allergic reactions in some individuals.

A white-footed mouse can carry hantaviruses that are extremely harmful to humans and can even be fatal. Lyme disease can potentially be transmitted by white-footed mice.

Why Do White-footed Mice Invade Home?

White-footed mice, like other rodents, are nocturnal and avoid other animals. Therefore, you will not spot one with your eyes open. However, that does not mean you do not have an infestation.

white footed mouse

White-footed mice in the wild usually dwell in tunnels they dig themselves or in abandoned holes of other animals. Burros can be found underground, beneath rocks, stumps, soil crevices, and in other hidden areas. 

However, during the colder months of the year, these rodents are pushed indoors. Homes provide the mice with a comfortable location to nest, as well as a plentiful supply of food and water.

Rodents, like all other animals, require food and water to exist. You can attract mice by leaving food out, having open garbage cans, or having unresolved moisture concerns.

Mice, like most animals, seek out safe havens in which to raise their young. Mice will find plenty of hiding spots in your untidy home, both inside and out. For instance, dog food is left open in the yard or garage, messy food storage system in the basement, and the food crumbs you leave under the counter. 

White-footed mice’s initial stop could be a mound of leaves or a heap of firewood near your house’s side. They may then nibble holes in your siding to find even more safe hiding spots. 

Preventing White-footed Mouse Infestation

Despite your best attempts, white-footed mice will find their way inside your home. However, there are a few things you can do to keep them at away.

  • Maintain a clean environment by vacuuming regularly.
  • Repair any leaking pipes or other moisture issues on your property.
  • Garbage should be kept in sealed containers outside.
  • Keep all food, including pet food, in sealed containers and refrigerated whenever feasible.
  • Remove any junk in your yard that mice could use to build a nest.
  • Metal screens should be installed on all windows, doors, and outside vents.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home for any holes and seal any that you notice.
  • Weather stripping should be installed under doors and windows.
  • Seal any gaps in the house where wires, cables, or pipes enter.
  • Trim bushes and trees back to keep them away from the house’s façade.
  • To expose rat harbourage places, trim the bottoms of hedges or bushes.
  • If possible, remove bird feeders from your yard.

Conclusion

Huge ears, brown back, and white belly fur, a long tail, and large black eyes distinguish the white-footed mouse. This adept tree climber is frequently the most abundant mouse species in a mixed woodland forest. It lives in a variety of settings, but mostly in and near forests with deciduous trees. 

Nuts, berries, seeds, and fungus are the main foods of this herbivore. The white-footed mouse serves as a reservoir for Lyme disease and is an essential prey for a variety of predators. It is also an important host of Lyme disease

It may be possible to prevent a white-footed mouse infestation by keeping brush and excessive foliage away from walls and foundations and walls, not leaving tree stumps close to human habitations, sealing all cracks and holes to prevent entry, thoroughly cleaning kitchens and pantries regularly, and store food in containers with tight lids.

About the author

David Johnson

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