Florida Mouse

Podomys floridanus

Last updated: March 25, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
©

It is the only mammal native to the state of Florida.


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Florida Mouse Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Rodentia
Family
Cricetidae
Genus
Podomys
Scientific Name
Podomys floridanus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Florida Mouse Conservation Status

Florida Mouse Locations

Florida Mouse Locations

Florida Mouse Facts

Prey
Crickets, grasshoppers, and soft-bodied ticks
Name Of Young
Pup
Group Behavior
  • Solitary
Fun Fact
It is the only mammal native to the state of Florida.
Estimated Population Size
Unknown
Biggest Threat
Human environmental impact on habitat
Most Distinctive Feature
Orange coloring to sides and cheeks
Distinctive Feature
Big ears and eyes
Other Name(s)
Big-eared deermouse, gopher mouse, and Florida deermouse
Gestation Period
30-34 days
Age Of Independence
About four weeks
Litter Size
1-5 pups
Habitat
Central and panhandle Florida, in dry, sparsely vegetated regions, and in highlands with minimal tree coverage.
Predators
Snakes, foxes, birds of prey, cats, dogs, and skunks.
Diet
Omnivore
Average Litter Size
2.5 pups
Lifestyle
  • Nocturnal
Favorite Food
Acorns
Common Name
Florida mouse
Origin
North America, Florida
Location
North America, Florida
Nesting Location
Burrows

Florida Mouse Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Brown
  • Grey
Skin Type
Fur
Lifespan
About 4 months in the wild to 7 years in captivity
Weight
.88 to 1.73 ounces
Length
7.01 to 7.76 inches
Age of Sexual Maturity
36 to 42 days
Age of Weaning
About four weeks

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Florida Mouse Summary

The Florida mouse is a nocturnal rodent of the family Cricetidae found in the United States in central Florida and within the panhandle. It is the only species in the genus Podomys and the only mammal native to Florida. The Florida mouse resides in some of the sparsest and dryest land of the state, in burrows dug by other animals, and lives on seeds and insects. It has orange coloring on its sides and cheeks and large eyes, and oversized furless ears.

Florida Mouse Facts

  • Florida mice have a unique, skunk-like smell.
  • It is the only mammal native to the state of Florida.
  • To escape a predator, Florida mice can drop the skin off their tails.

Florida Mouse Scientific Name

The scientific name of the Florida mouse is Podomys floridanus, from the Greek pod, meaning “foot,” and mys, meaning “mouse,” which is a New Latin adaptation of the Greek. Floridanus refers to Florida, of course. It is the only species of the genus Podomys. It is a rodent from the family Cricetidae, which has 692 species, including muskrats, voles, hamsters, lemmings, rats, and mice.

Florida Mouse Appearance 

They are gray to brown on their top, orange patches on their cheeks and sides, and white underneath. Their tails are brown on top and white bottom. The ears are large and nearly furless, while their eyes are proportionally large. Their tails are approximately 80% of the length of their bodies. Florida mice have five pads on their hind feet, distinguishing them from cotton and oldfield mice, which have 6-7.

Florida Mouse Behavior

The Florida mouse is a nocturnal rodent. It forages at night, though it will avoid frigid nights. They can climb, but they prefer to remain on the ground. They live in burrows but do not make their own, choosing to inhabit the burrows of the gopher tortoise. If those are unavailable, they will use the burrows of other mouse species or armadillos. They do not hibernate because the temperature range in Florida is adequate for year-round feeding, mating, etc. When they get excited, they stamp their feet, making a thumping sound.

Florida Mouse Habitat

Only found in Florida, they like open upland areas with under 25% tree coverage, preferably longleaf pine or turkey oak with sparse ground cover. However, most populations are found in low coastal sandhills with dry vegetation, like scrub brush. These temperate grasslands and trees are typically burned naturally every 4-10 years, clearing the area and starting the undergrowth anew.

Florida Mouse Diet

They are omnivorous, primarily eating acorns, other nuts, and seeds but also crickets, grasshoppers, and soft-bodied ticks.



Florida Mouse Predators and Threats

They have several predators and threats. Some occur in the natural order of things, while others result from human development and environmental intervention. Natural predators include raccoons, snakes, raptors, red foxes, gray foxes, skunks, and bobcats. Lately, they have been at risk from invasive red fire ants.

Humans have added to this tapestry of threats by introducing domestic and feral cats and dogs. Also, to “protect” the Floridian countryside, we have initiated fire suppression plans that have allowed dense vegetation to increase, eliminating the sparse undergrowth that this rodent prefers. Agriculture and development have also contributed to this habitat disruption. Human disruption of the gopher tortoise population has resulted in the decrease of available burrows for them. Finally, the global impact of climate change can be felt here, with rising waters threatening these coastal populations.

Florida Mouse Reproduction, Babies, and Lifespan

They reach sexual maturity between 36-42 days. Both sexes will mate with multiple partners more than once per year. Though they can mate at any time, peak mating season is from July through September, with a second peak in January-February. Females will typically have 1-2 litters per year.

After mating, the gestation period is approximately 23-24 days, after which the female will give birth to 2-4 pups in a leaf-lined nest in part of the burrow. The newborn pups are relatively helpless, and the female will nurse them constantly for the first two weeks and begin the weaning process, which ends after about their fourth week. They will begin to be independent adults, and the mother will start to force them from the burrow.

They have short lives in the wild, with an average lifespan of over four months. This is primarily due to predation and cannibalism within the nest (over 50%.) In captivity, Florida mice have lived for over seven years.

Florida Mouse Population

The IUCN Red List includes them as “Near Threatened.” This is better than a few years ago when it was listed as “Vulnerable.” The mouse is common throughout its territory, but accurate population numbers are unknown. The population estimates are in decline by about 30% over the last ten years. Its decline is rather dramatic in areas where specimens were regularly collected. It should be noted that, from about 1940-1981, 64% of dry upland habitat disappeared.

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About the Author

Rob Amend is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily covering meteorology, geology, geography, and animal oddities. He attained a Master's Degree in Library Science in 2000 and served as reference librarian in an urban public library for 22 years. Rob lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, photography, woodworking, listening to classic rock, and watching classic films—his favorite animal is a six-foot-tall rabbit named Harvey.

Florida Mouse FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What do Florida mice eat?

Florida mice like acorns and seeds but will also eat a variety of insects.

How can you identify a Florida mouse?

The Florida mouse is about seven to nearly eight inches long and has a brown back and sides with hints of orange on the sides and cheeks. It has a white underbody, and its tail is about 80% of the length of its body, with a gray top and white underneath.

Are Florida mice native to Florida?

Florida mice are native to Florida and are actually the only mammal native to the state.

Are Florida mice endangered?

Florida mice are on the IUCN Red List as “Near Threatened.”  They are only found throughout Florida, and their numbers are decreasing. They’re not quite endangered, but they are trending in that direction.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources

  1. / Accessed March 25, 2023
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  6. / Accessed March 25, 2023
  7. / Accessed March 25, 2023
  8. / Accessed March 25, 2023
  9. / Accessed March 25, 2023

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