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Deer Mice And The Rigors of Winter

2-5-15  deer mouse 022Even though Deer Mice are active year round, we don’t often see them, as they are active from dusk until dawn. During the winter, when it’s very cold, they commonly resort to short periods of torpor (4 to 9 hours) during the day to conserve energy. While torpid, their body temperature may fall to 55° F. from a normal temperature of 98°F.

When active, Deer Mice travel both under and on top of the snow. When travelling under the snow, they tunnel through it or use tunnels created by other small mammals. When travelling on top of the snow, their tracks, and often the drag mark from their tail, are evident. The pictured Deer Mouse was found curled up, frozen, at the end of a very lengthy trail of tracks and tunnels that ran over and through woods. Where the tracks began there was a slight depression in the snow (no tunnel, no tracks), indicating that the mouse might have fallen from the air after escaping from the talons of a bird of prey.

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7 responses

  1. Are you thinking that the mouse eventually died from internal injuries resulting from the bird’s talons and/or the fall?

    February 5, 2015 at 8:47 am

    • I’m not sure, Wendy. There was no blood, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it wasn’t injured by the bird…perhaps a combination of both?

      February 5, 2015 at 8:51 am

  2. Interesting puzzle…thanks!

    February 5, 2015 at 9:00 am

  3. Kathryn

    Awwww…. poor little thing.

    February 5, 2015 at 12:35 pm

  4. I found a similar mouse last year – just laying there, dead. It is a mystery.

    February 5, 2015 at 10:46 pm

  5. Gosh, that’s the tenderest little death. Maybe he/she just ran out of gas…….

    February 6, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    • Yes, it is, Jim. Maybe that’s exactly what happened…

      February 6, 2015 at 7:46 pm

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