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cotton mouse

(Peromyscus gossypinus gossypinus)


The size of the cotton mouse is medium to large with a total length of 170-188 mm and a weight of 25-39 grams. The tail is less than half the total length and indistinctly bicolored. The upper parts are bright cinnamon, sprinkled with black and darker along the back. The underparts are dirty white, the feet are white, and the tail is blackish brown above and dull white below. The breeding season is from August-May and there are at least 4 litters of three to four young born per year. This species will nest in trees or under logs. Nest materials include plant fibers i.e. cotton. It will disperse to dry sites during wet seasons. It is strongly nocturnal and is preyed upon by owls, and snakes, as well as mammalian predators.


In Virginia, the cotton mouse is found in southeastern corner in the Dismal Swamp region. The preferred habitat is bottomland hardwood forest, mesic and hydric hammocks and swamps.


The diet is 68% animal matter. This is an opportunistic feeder with the diet composition mainly dependent on availability.

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