Saturday, August 14, 2010

Long Tailed "Kangaroo" Mouse (AKA Woodland Jumping Mouse)

The other night while I was relaxing on the phone, suddenly my cat jumped in my window holding a mouse. Nothing unusual... until she dropped the mouse right at my feet and I noticed what I first thought as some kid of deformity or rare defect - the mouse had a tail well over two times it's body length!!! It also had really large back feet and hopped across my floor as well as ran...
I was not sure if this was a certain type of mouse, or if some freak of the forest had dropped in tha' cabin, till a friend of mine googled it and found that the Nature Center in my area of the western north carolina mountains had written an excited page about these long tailed cutie pies...
"Although they live here in the mountains, you many only rarely get the chance to glimpse at one in the wild. One reason is that they do not 'breed like rats.' They only have two litters a year and have a one-acre average population on only three mice (about 1/5 of that of deer mice). Also, they are nocturnal and are one of the few mice that hibernate. Their habitat is the cool, moist spruce-fir and hemlock-hardwood forests of our mountain area. Even in you are prowling the mountain tops at night and stumble into prime jumping mouse territory, about all you would see is a orange or gold furry blur with a long tail trailing like a meteorite streaking across the forest floor. Jumping mice live up to their name by leaping as much as three feet in a single bound!"
I love them and their amazing tails!!!


Canary said...

Very cool mouse. Thanks to Toots for her (his?) part in your always fascinating nature journal!


Leslie's Gone Oko said...

Hey Canary~
Toots does lead me to some interesting things... used to be only bugs, lately it's mice--- never birds thank gawd.

Karen said...

Early this morning I found remains of a jumping mouse on our door mat. One of our cats had eaten the head. The remainder looked much like your photo but lighter colored with mottled fur. I have been researching to find what kind of "kangaroo mouse" it was. It was definitely a "kangaroo" mouse with large hind feet and diminished front legs/feet. Two unusual things about this mouse are it's extremely long tail with out the "furry tassel" at the end of the tail and our locale. We are in Bayfield County, Wisconsin. Pine forests were native to our location until the early 1900 logging days when the forests were clear cut. The white pines are slowly returning but the forests are now primarily maple, oak and birch.