Field Guide/Mammals/Woodland Jumping Mouse

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Napaeozapus insignis (Woodland Jumping Mouse)
Family: Zapodinae
Size: Length overall: 8-10 inches (204-256mm), body length: 3-4 inches(80-100mm), tail length: 4.5–6 inches (115-160mm). Weight is usually 0.6-0.9 ounces (17-26g), though that will increase as much as 50% when preparing for hibernation.[1]
Description: The woodland jumping mouse resembles the shape of most mice. It has a fine white underbelly and a rougher top coat of fur that gives it a distinct reddish brown tri color, which camouflages it against dead leaves and trees along the forest floor. Other distinguishing features include its long hind legs and long tail.[1]
Similar Species: Perhaps the most striking differentiation is that the meadow and woodland jumping mice hibernate where most other mice don’t. While both woodland and meadow are similar in appearance with long tails and hind legs, the woodland variety has a white tipped tail.[2]

Range: This species can be found throughout northeastern portions of North America. From the arrowhead region of Minnesota through mostly the upper peninsula of Michigan into Canada through northern Quebec, extending south along the Appalachian Mountains into Georgia.[1][3]
Habitat: Not surprisingly, woodland mice prefer woodlands; forested areas with thick undergrowth consisting of ferns, shrubs and grasses. Damp swampy lowlands or mossy mountainous regions provide a suitable habitat.[4]
Diet: Primarily herbivorous but will consume insects and worms in addition to leaves, roots, seeds, fruit, and nuts. These mice also eat fungi inadvertently providing nutrients to surrounding trees, playing an important role in the forest ecosystem
Activity: Woodland jumping mice may be active during the day but they are mostly nocturnal. They hibernate from September to May in burrows up to 4.5 feet (1.5m) deep. They are not typically aggressive amongst themselves and are known to share food. They can increase their body weight as much as 50% during the summer months to prepare for hibernation.[4]

Reproduction: Breeding is seasonal and mating occurs after females come out of hibernation - males emerge first – as early as mid may but more commonly in June. Mice in the southern range can have two litters in one season despite being slow to develop. It takes approximately 35 days for offspring to wean and grow hair.[4]
Lifespan: Longer than most small North American mammals, the woodland jumping mouse can live 3-4 years in the wild.[3]

Notes: The jump in the mouse is most impressive. They can cover 2-6 feet (0.6-1.8m) in a single hop and get as high as 2 feet (0.6m)! They can also swim underwater for short distances.[1][4]
Woodland Jumping Mouse


  1. a b c d Wrigley, R ((1972)), "Napaeosapus Insignis", Mammalian Species 14: (1–6),, retrieved (October 16, 2012) 
  2. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Lemmings, Mice Rats and Voles,, retrieved (October 16, 2012) 
  3. a b "Napaeosapus Insignis", NatureServe, (2003),, retrieved (October 16, 2012) 
  4. a b c d Harrington, E. ((2004)), Napaeozapus Insignis, Animal Diversity Web,, retrieved (October 16, 2012)