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Montana Animal Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Deer Mouse - Peromyscus maniculatus


Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:


 

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General Description
The Deer Mouse in Montana measures approximately 6 1/2 inches long, including its tail, and weighs under an ounce. Throughout the Intermountain West it varies in color from pale gray to dark reddish brown on its back and upper tail. Its belly, legs and feet, and the underside of its tail are white. Although the upper fur grades to a lighter color along the sides, it is distinguished by the sharp definition between top and underside. In addition, the Deer Mouse's large, lightly haired ears and big eyes, suited for its nocturnal habits and under-the-snow winter life, help to identify it (Foresman 2012).

Species Range
Montana Range

Click the legend blocks above to view individual ranges.

Western Hemisphere Range

 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 6434

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Migration
Non-migratory.

Habitat
In virtually all habitats - sagebrush desert, grasslands, riparian areas, montane, subalpine coniferous forests & alpine tundra (Pattie 1967, Hoffmann and Pattie 1968, Metzgar 1979). Usually not seen in wetlands (Jones et al. 1983).

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
  • Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
    How Associations Were Made
    We associated the use and habitat quality (common or occasional) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
    1. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2012, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
    2. Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species' range and habitat requirements;
    3. Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point observation database associated with each ecological system;
    4. Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of "observations versus availability of habitat".
    Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.  In general, species were listed as associated with an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.  However, species were not listed as associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if point observations were associated with that system.  Common versus occasional association with an ecological system was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species as represented in scientific literature.  The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignment of common versus occasional association.  If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact the Montana Natural Heritage Program's Senior Zoologist.

    Suggested Uses and Limitations
    Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.  These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.  Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.  Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.  Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).  Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species' known geographic range.

    Literature Cited
    • Adams, R.A.  2003.  Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation.  Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.  289 p.
    • Dobkin, D. S.  1992.  Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34.  Missoula, MT.
    • Foresman, K.R.  2012.  Mammals of Montana.  Second edition.  Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana.  429 pp.
    • Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998.  Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates.  Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.  1302 p.
    • Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young.  1999.  Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32.  72 p.
    • Maxell, B.A.  2000.  Management of Montana's amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species.  Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1.  Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.  161 p.
    • Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath.  2004.  Amphibians and reptiles of Montana.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.

Food Habits
Omnivorous diet although dentition is adapted for seed eating. Invertebrates important in warm months, green plant material a minor but important component. Stores some food in burrow (Jones et al. 1983).

Ecology
In forest areas densities peak about 2 to 5 years after clear-cutting, then decline as succession advances. 15 years after cut, uncut and cut densities similar. On prairie production, may be linked to precipitation.

Reproductive Characteristics
In Beartooths, begin breeding May or June - 2.3 litters/year, adults average 6.4 young/litter. In Missoula County, breed April to November. In Rosebud County, females pregnant March to October and average 5.25 young/litter (Pattie 1967, Metzgar 1979).

References
  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Foresman, K.R. 2012. Mammals of Montana. Second edition. Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana. 429 pp.
    • Hoffmann, R.S. and D.L. Pattie. 1968. A guide to Montana mammals: identification, habitat, distribution, and abundance. University of Montana, Missoula. 133 pp.
    • Jones, J.K., D.M. Armstrong, R.S. Hoffmann and C. Jones. 1983. Mammals of the northern Great Plains. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln. 379 pp.
    • Metzgar, L.H. 1979. Dispersion patterns in a Peromyscus population. Journal of Mammalogy 60(1):129-145.
    • Pattie, D.L. 1967. Dynamics of alpine small mammal populations. Ph.D dissertation. University of Montana, Missoula. 102 pp.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
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    • Allard, M. W., S.J. Gunn, and I.F. Greenbaum. 1987. Mensural discrimination of chromosomally characterized Peromyscus oreas and P. maniculatus. Journal of Mammalogy 68:402-406.
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Citation for data on this website:
Deer Mouse — Peromyscus maniculatus.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on December 3, 2016, from http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=AMAFF03040