7 Species of Mice in Alberta

Alberta is home to seven unique species of mice: the meadow jumping mouse, the western jumping mouse, western deer mouse, western harvest mouse, northern grasshopper mouse, house mouse, and white-footed mouse. This article will provide you with a brief overview of each of the seven species of mice.


1. Meadow Jumping Mouse (Zapus Hudsonius)

Meadow jumping mice can be found throughout northern North America and is the most widespread type of jumping mouse in North America.[1]https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Zapus_hudsonius/ In Alberta, they live throughout the majority of the province and can be found in both Calgary and Edmonton.[2]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meadow_jumping_mouse#/media/File:Zapus_hudsonius_map.svg The meadow jumping mouse is capable of jumping 2 to 3 feet in distance using its powerful hind legs. The meadow jumping mouse is a capable swimmer and can dive as deep as four feet under water in order to escape predators. The meadow jumping mouse is an excellent digger. Once inside a burrow, it will use its powerful hind legs to throw out the loose soil. The meadow jumping mouse is primarily nocturnal and will rarely come out during daylight hours.[3]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meadow_jumping_mouse 


2. Western Jumping Mouse (Zapus Princeps)

Western jumping mice are less common than meadow jumping mice and can be found primarily in Southern Alberta. They will very rarely be found north of Edmonton.[4]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_jumping_mouse#/media/File:Zapus_princeps_map.svg They will live in tall grass along streams, with or without a brush or tree canopy. They will also reside in grasslands, mesic forests with sparse understory herbage, valley floors, and alpine wet sedge meadows.[5]https://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=AMAFH01020 Western jumping mice resemble typical mice in appearance, but with long hind-feet and reduced forelimbs. They are quite large, ranging from 22 to 25 cm in total length, including the tail. Western jumping mice, unlike other types of mice, will hibernate all winter (for up to 10 months of the year) surviving off of their body fat and losing about 25% of their size during hibernation.[6]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_jumping_mouse


3. Western Deer Mouse (Peromyscus Sonoriensis)

The western deer mouse is widespread throughout the western half of North America, mainly in areas west of the mississippi. They can be found throughout Alberta and are common in both Calgary and Edmonton. In a survey of small mammals on 29 sites in subalpine forests in Colorado and Wyoming, the deer mouse had the highest frequency of occurrence; however, it was not always the most abundant small mammal.[7]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_deer_mouse The western deer mouse can be distinguished from other mice by its relatively small size, ranging in length from 12.5 to 16.4 cm.[8]https://webapps.fhsu.edu/ksmammal/account.aspx?o=39&t=224


4. Western Harvest Mouse (Reithrodontomys Megalotis)

The western harvest mouse is relatively uncommon and is currently listed as an endangered species by the Canadian government. The northern border of their distribution is the Suffield National Wildlife Area in southeastern Alberta, near Medicine Hat. For these reasons, it is unlikely that you will encounter the western harvest mouse in Calgary, Edmonton or Canmore.[9]https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/species-risk-public-registry/cosewic-assessments-status-reports/western-harvest-mouse-2019.html


5. Northern Grasshopper Mouse (Onychomys Leucogaster)

The northern grasshopper mouse is a North American carnivorous rodent. It occurs in southern Alberta, to the southeast of Calgary. Unlike most rodents, this one has a mostly carnivorous diet mainly consisting of small insects, other mice, and even snakes. Throughout the night, the grasshopper mouse makes high-pitched noises to claim its territory. The northern grasshopper mouse lives in burrows underground, either digging its own or inhabiting burrows that have been disowned. These mice have a system of multiple burrows, with each burrow serving a different function.[10]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_grasshopper_mouse 


6. House Mouse (Mus Musculus)

Although a wild animal, the house mouse has benefited significantly from associating with human habitation to the point that truly wild populations are significantly less common than the semi-tame populations near human activity.[11]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_mouse Of all the species of mice in Alberta, the house mouse is by far the most costly in terms of damage to human property and crops.[12]https://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex594/$file/683.pdf?OpenElement


7. White-Footed Mouse (Peromyscus Leucopous)

The white-footed mouse can be found in southeastern Alberta but has not been found as far north as Edmonton. With a maximum lifespan of 96 months and a mean life expectancy of 46 months, the white-footed mouse has the longest lifespan of all of the mice found in Alberta. They are timid and generally avoid humans, but they occasionally take up residence in ground-floor walls of homes and apartments, where they build nests and store food. Just like deer mice, this species carry hantaviruses, which can cause severe illness in humans. It has also been found to be a competent reservoir for Lyme disease.[13]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-footed_mouse