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woodland jumping mouse

Fact File

Scientific Name: Napaeozapus insignis insignis

Classification: Mammalia, Order Rodentia, Family Zapodidae

Identifying Characteristics

It is a medium sized mouse, with a total length from 204-256 mm, and a weight of 17-26 grams. The females are a bit larger than the males. The coat is coarse, with stiff guard hairs and it has a dorsal stripe of brown to black, and sides that are orange with a yellow or red tint. The underparts are white, and the tail bicolored, grayish brown above, white below, and white tipped. They have long hind legs, short fore legs and the ears are longer than Zapus as well as being larger and brighter orange than Zapus. The breeding season is from May-September with 1-2 litters of 2-7 young being produced per year. This species is primarily nocturnal, and it also hibernates from late September -November until early May. During this time they live on stored fat reserves. It nests in a brush pile or burrow system below the ground surface.


Neither Handley and Patton, 1947 or Wrigley, R.E., 1972 report this subspecies to occur in Virginia. The most likely area for this is the extreme northwestern corner of the state. This mouse is found only in the southwestern region of the state. They are usually found in upper elevation moist cool forests of hemlock or and mixed hardwoods. Their distribution is notably local, and it often inhabits relatively small areas in the vicinity of watercourses. This species seeks cool moist environments within forest or forest edges. It does not occur where the mean air temperature in the warmest months is greater than 21 degrees C.

Last updated: August 18, 2023

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