Woodland Jumping Mice, ~1 week old
When these 5 little girls arrived at Wild Things Sanctuary last summer after being dug out of their nest by a cat, I had no idea what they were! The certainly looked mice-like, but not like the typical deer mice/house mice that you usually see around the area (see post below); they had huge back feet and tails with a little white tip at the end. They were Woodland Jumping Mice and were about 6g each. I knew that they were going to require a lot of care to keep them alive. No other rehabilitators I spoke with had ever had jumping mice patients so it was up to me to figure out how to keep them healthy.
I like to wrap little babies in a cloth when I feed them. It helps keep a grip on them and keeps their fur from getting yucky from the formula and from the natural oils on one's hands.
So cute how they could all fit in your hand!
Did you know that Woodland Jumping Mice smile?? ~2 weeks old with lovely reddish coats and just opened eyes
They grew lovely reddish coats with a wide dark stripe down their backs, and manOman could they jump! It was like having 5 living pieces of popcorn bouncing all over the cage. They gave us many laughs! They also started learning how to burrow and were eventually transferred to a "big kid" cage when it was clear they were eating 100% on their own and healthy. They arrived in August weighing a total of 26g (all together), under one oz! Before hibernation it is reported that they can each get up to 25-30g.
They got up to about 20g each by October...and apparently jumping mice go into hibernation in October- they can hibernate for over half the year! These little ones were not quite ready to be released- they didn't have enough weight on them and some of them were getting bald patches, indicating illness or malnutrition. This meant that they were going to have to over-winter at Wild Things Sanctuary.
I added more insects into their diets and tried some skin moisturizer and that seemed to help- by December their coats were looking beautiful again. They love mealworms and berries!
It will be hard to release them in the spring. They are so small and seem so vulnerable! I think that I've found a good place but it is miles away from the Wild Woods, so it will be a "hard"-release ("hard" release= taking them somewhere and letting them go, "soft" release= opening their cage door and letting them come and go while supplying food for them for a period of time). I don't want to return them where they were found as the same cat may be around and cause them trouble.
We were certainly all very privileged here at Wild Things to have a chance to work with these charming little mice. The above pictures are at 1 week old (~5g) and 4 months old (~20g). If you are interested in learning more about jumping mice, see the winter 2010 edition of The Wild Times where the "Species Hightlight" section features their species!
The mouse stash!
In other mice related news...
A lovely ring that my partner gave to me disappeared in October 2010. I looked everywhere for it. I thought I had left it by the kitchen sink, but there was no sign of it...
...until January 2011 when I lifted the top of the stove off to clean and found a mouse trove of secret treasures- a peanut, Hershey's kiss, and the ring! I don't know if you can see it in the picture, but you can tell that it was really well hidden!
This has intensified our fights about the mice in the house and whether to kill them (what he wants) or let them be/start trapping and releasing once it gets warmer (what I want...actually I don't mind a few living in the house!)...so far they are all still here! :)