White-footed mouse

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White-footed mouse
White-footed Mouse, Cantley, Quebec.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae
Subfamily: Neotominae
Genus: Peromyscus
P. leucopus
Binomial name
Peromyscus leucopus
(Rafinesque, 1818)
Peromyscus leucopus range map.png

The white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) is a rodent native to North America from Ontario, Quebec, Labrador, and the Maritime Provinces (excluding the island of Newfoundland) to the southwestern United States and Mexico.[1] In the Maritimes, its only location is a disjunct population in southern Nova Scotia.[2] It is also known as the woodmouse, particularly in Texas.


Adults are 90–100 mm (3.5–3.9 in) in length, not counting the tail, which can add another 63–97 mm (2.5–3.8 in). A young adult weighs 20–30 g (0.7–1.1 oz). While their maximum lifespan is 96 months, the mean life expectancy for the species is 45.5 months for females and 47.5 for males. In northern climates, the average life expectancy is 12–24 months.[3]

Behavior and diet[edit]

White-footed mice are omnivorous, and eat seeds and insects. They are timid and generally avoid humans, but they occasionally take up residence in ground-floor walls of homes and apartments, where they build nests and store food.[4]

Similar species[edit]

Female with sucklings

This species is similar to Peromyscus maniculatus. Like the North American deer mouse, it may carry hantaviruses, which cause severe illness in humans.[5]

Connection to Lyme disease[edit]

It has also been found to be a competent reservoir for the Lyme disease–causing spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi.[6]

Interactions with humans[edit]

The white-footed mouse is one of the most common mouse species used as laboratory mice after the house mouse, and their domesticated version is called Peromyscus leucopus linville.[7] These domesticated ones also make decent pets.[8][9] They have been bred to have many different colors.[10]


The white-footed mouse is the favored host for the parasitic botfly Cuterebra fontinella.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Linzey, A.V.; Matson, J. & Timm, R. (2008). "Peromyscus leucopus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  2. ^ Atlantic Interior, The Natural History of Nova Scotia
  3. ^ Mammalian models for research on aging (1981) ISBN 978-0-309-03094-6
  4. ^ "WHITE-FOOTED AND DEER MICE". The Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  5. ^ RR5109-Front Cover-Hantavirus.p65
  6. ^ Donahue JG, Piesman J, Spielman A (January 1987). "Reservoir competence of white-footed mice for Lyme disease spirochetes". The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 36 (1): 92–6. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.1987.36.92. PMID 3812887.
  7. ^ Sun Y, Desierto MJ, Ueda Y, Kajigaya S, Chen J, Young NS (2014). "Peromyscus leucopus mice: a potential animal model for haematological studies". International Journal of Experimental Pathology. 95 (5): 342–50. doi:10.1111/iep.12091. PMC 4209926. PMID 25116892.
  8. ^ "White-Footed & Deer Mice Care Sheet by Ann Vole".
  9. ^ Clive Roots; Domestication - page: 105
  10. ^ "Deer Mice and White-footed Mice". 2010-06-03.
  11. ^ Jennison CA, Rodas LR, Barrett GW (2006). "Cuterebra fontinella parasitism on Peromyscus leucopus and Ochrotomys nuttalli". Southeastern Naturalist. 5 (1): 157–168. doi:10.1656/1528-7092(2006)5[157:CFPOPL]2.0.CO;2.
A captive white-footed mouse. She is at least 3 years and 8 months old.


External links[edit]