deer mouse

deer mouse
a mostly North American, white-footed mouse (genus Peromyscus)

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Any of about 60 species (genus Peromyscus, family Cricetidae) of small, delicate rodents that are active at night and are found in habitats from Alaska to South America.

They often outnumber all other mammals in an area. Deer mice are 3–6.5 in. (8–17 cm) long (excluding the long tail) and have large eyes, soft fur, and relatively large ears. Colours range from white to brown or blackish, with white underparts and feet. They eat plant and animal matter and nest in burrows or trees. Clean, easily cared for, and prolific, they are often used as laboratory animals.

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 any of 53 species of small rodents (rodent) found in a variety of habitats from Alaska and northern Canada southward to western Panama. They have bulging eyes and large ears, weigh from 15 to 110 grams (0.5 to 3.9 ounces), and are 8 to 17 cm (3.1 to 6.7 inches) long. The tail may be shorter than the head and body or strikingly longer, depending on the species. All deer mice have soft fur, but colour varies both between and within species. The fur is nearly white in some populations of cotton mice (Peromyscus gossypinus) in the southeastern United States, but it can range from gray through bright buff, brown, reddish brown, and to blackish in P. melanurus, which inhabits the mountain forests of southern Mexico. Species living in dark and wet forests tend to have dark coats, whereas those adapted to deserts and prairies are generally pale; nearly all have white feet.

      Deer mice are nocturnal but are occasionally active in the early evening. They spend daylight hours in burrows or in trees, where they construct nests of plant material. Although terrestrial, they are agile climbers. Their diet includes everything from plant products and fungi to invertebrates and carrion.

      P. maniculatus is sometimes called the white-footed mouse and has the most extensive geographic distribution of any North American rodent. Found from Canada to subtropical Mexico, it lives in a spectacular range of habitats between the Canadian tundra and the Sonoran (Sonoran Desert) Desert; it also lives in temperate and boreal forests (boreal forest), grasslands, and scrub formations. Females produce up to four litters per year after 21 to 27 days' gestation, and each litter usually contains three to five young (one to eight are extremes). The white-footed mouse breeds readily in laboratory settings, and across the United States it is used for studies involving genetics, evolution, physiology, and medicine. P. maniculatus is the primary host of hantavirus and one of the hosts of plague, and it is also one of several mammalian hosts that can transmit Lyme disease in the United States.

      Deer mice belong to the subfamily Sigmodontinae of the mouse family ( Muridae). Their closest living relatives are American harvest mice (harvest mouse) (genus Reithrodontomys).

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Deer mouse — Deer Deer (d[=e]r), n. sing. & pl. [OE. der, deor, animal, wild animal, AS. de[ o]r; akin to D. dier, OFries. diar, G. thier, tier, Icel. d[=y]r, Dan. dyr, Sw. djur, Goth. dius; of unknown origin. [root]71.] 1. Any animal; especially, a wild… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • deer mouse — Mouse Mouse (mous), n.; pl. {Mice} (m[imac]s). [OE. mous, mus, AS. m[=u]s, pl. m[=y]s; akin to D. muis, G. maus, OHG. & Icel. m[=u]s, Dan. muus, Sw. mus, Russ. muishe, L. mus, Gr. my^s, Skr. m[=u]sh mouse, mush to steal. [root]277. Cf. {Muscle},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • deer mouse — deer′ mouse n. mam white footed mouse • Etymology: 1825–35, amer …   From formal English to slang

  • deer mouse — ☆ deer mouse n. a mostly North American, white footed mouse (genus Peromyscus) …   English World dictionary

  • deer mouse — noun brownish New World mouse; most widely distributed member of the genus • Syn: ↑Peromyscus maniculatus • Hypernyms: ↑wood mouse • Member Holonyms: ↑Peromyscus, ↑genus Peromyscus * * * noun …   Useful english dictionary

  • deer mouse — fieldmouse fieldmouse, field mouse field mouse . 1. (Zo[ o]l.) any nocturnal Old World mouse of the genus {Apodemus} inhabing woods and fields and gardens. [WordNet 1.5] 2. (Zo[ o]l.) any mouse inhabiting fields, as the {campagnol} and the {deer… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • deer mouse — elninis žiurkėnukas statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Peromyscus maniculatus angl. deer mouse vok. Hirschmaus rus. олений хомячок pranc. souris du soir; souris sylvestre ryšiai: platesnis terminas –… …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas

  • deer mouse. — See white footed mouse. [1825 35, Amer.] * * * …   Universalium

  • deer mouse — noun a mainly nocturnal mouse found in North and Central America. [Peromyscus maniculatus and related species.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • deer mouse — /ˈdɪə maʊs/ (say dear mows) noun any of several species of mice, family Cricetidae, especially the widely distributed white footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus, of North America …  

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