|Florida Nature: Mice|
Mouse- A nocturnal rodent, the Cotton Mouse is omnivorous,
eating many invertebrates as well as seeds, fruits, and nuts. A skillful
climber, it runs up trees the way gray squirrels do and is a fairly
strong swimmer. Both of these skills are useful adaptations for the
southern swamps where this species is most abundant. Cotton and
White-footed mice are very similar. 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
bi-colored. 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. The name cotton mouse was applied to the
species by Le Conte, who found that the mice often used cotton for nest
Eastern Harvest Mouse- The Eastern harvest mouse is a rich, brown color, but the belly and the underside of the tail are paler than the back. The Eastern Harvest Mouse can go for long periods without water, probably obtaining what it needs from food, typically seeds and grains, but they have also been known to feed on grasshoppers and crickets. This animal often builds its nest in low herbaceous or woody vegetation. The Eastern harvest mouse is an excellent climber, and may spend a good deal of its time foraging above ground in dense vegetation. Snakes, screech owls, kestrels, shrikes, and weasels are likely predators.
Florida Mouse- The Florida Mouse, an endangered mammal, is found only in Florida on sandy beaches and scrub-brush. In fact, the Florida Mouse is the only mammal that is limited to Florida. The Gopher Tortoise makes its home here in burrows, and the Florida Mouse uses the tortoise burrow, making its home in a corridor off of the main route for the tortoise. The Florida mouse is nocturnal, using cover of darkness to escape from predators and is active all year. Even though it is considered large for its species, the Florida Mouse is small, only growing to an average length of 5-8 inches. They have long tails, usually attaining a length of 3-5 inches. They have soft brown fur with white fur on their underbellies and large, round, brown ears that don’t have any fur. Florida mice have a distinctive odor, almost like a skunk. Like most mice, the Florida Mouse is an omnivore, eating seeds, plants, some insects, nuts, and fungi, but acorns appear to be the preferred food source. The Florida mouse has been known, in periods of starvation, to eat it's own tail.
Golden Mouse-Golden mice live in thick woodlands, swampy areas, among vines, and within small trees and shrubs. These animals especially like to live where honeysuckle, greenbrier, and red cedar grow. Golden mice inhabit climates, such as Florida, that are hot and wet in the summer and dry in the winter. The body length of the golden mouse ranges from 51 to 115mm. The prehensile tail is from 50 to 97mm in length, generally the same length as the body of the mouse. The golden mouse gets its common name from the thick and soft golden fur that covers its upper body. However, its feet and undersides are white and its tail has a cream coloring. Golden mice are granivorous, eating mostly seeds. They prefer sumac seeds, but also consume honeysuckle and other seeds as well. Sumac seeds are poor quality food because they contain tannin, which reduces the efficiency of enzymes in the mouse's digestive pathway.
House Mouse-The house mouse (Mus musculus) is considered one of the most troublesome and economically important pests in the United States. House mice live and thrive under a variety of conditions in and around homes and farms. House mice are gray or brown rodents with relatively large ears and small eyes. An adult weighs about 1/2 ounce and is about 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 inches long, including the 3 to 4 inch tail. House mice usually run, walk or stand on all fours, but when eating, fighting or orienting themselves, they stand only on the hind legs, supported by the tail. Mice are good jumpers, climbers and swimmers. House mice primarily feed on plant matter, but they will also accept meat and dairy products. Although they are generally known to like fruits, they are repelled by the scent of many varieties of artificial fruit scent, for example strawberry- or vanilla-scented candles. The reason for this is unknown, although it dates back to antiquity, when Roman Senators used candles scented with strawberry oils to keep mice out of their sleeping chambers. They will drink water but require little of it, relying mainly on the moisture present in their food.
Oldfield Mouse-The oldfield mouse is present along the Gulf and Atlantic coastlines of Florida, and is whitish to fawn with white underparts, with a weight of 4-6 ounces. This 1/4-1/2 ounce mouse has a short bi-colored tail. It's A burrowing species, the Oldfield Mouse constructs, at the far end of its burrow and above the nest, a branch tunnel extending upward and ending just below the ground's surface. If a predator starts digging into the burrow, the mouse will often "explode" through this escape hatch, thereby eluding the startled predator. Several subspecies of the Oldfield Mouse have been described that are geographically separated from one another and are evolving in different directions. Seeds and insects form the bulk of this animal's diet, although it also eats blackberries and wild peas.
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