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meadow jumping mouse

(Zapus hudsonius americanus)


This is a long-tailed yellowish mouse with a total length is 187-255 mm and a weight of 14-28 grams. The coat is generally coarse with a broad dorsal band of brown to yellowish brown darkened with brownish black. The underparts are white separated from the sides by a yellow band. The tail is distinctly bicolor, dark brown above and yellowish white below. The breeding season is from May-September with the average number of offspring being 5.7 with 2-3 litters per year. Nest and den sites are generally composed of grass and leaves located in hollow logs, trees, or some other protecting object. The hibernating nest is generally composed of grass and located 0.5 meters underground. It enters hibernaculum (usually 1-3 ft. below ground) in early October, emerging from April-May. It hibernates as long or longer than most mammals.. They are primarily nocturnal and a solitary species. This species lives 1-2 years in the wild.


This species occurs throughout Virginia is sometimes found in thin woods, alder thickets, clearings, and in weedy thickets along streams. They use old field grasslands and moist meadow habitats. They are most common in moist grassy areas and in timothy fields.


Feeding consists of the mouse cutting down a stem or climbing to the top and cutting off the head and carrying it to the ground to feed. Seeds of touch-me-not and wood sorrel are among the staple foods. Beetles and cutworms equal up to 50% of the diet in the spring with seeds 20%. in the field.