Georgia Wildlife Web

Home Glossary Classification Conservation Status Regions of Georgia Fishes of Georgia Make a Donation

Species Description

Golden Mouse

Ochrotomys nuttalli


Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae

Description

Rich golden to orangish brown upper parts. Creamy white belly with orangish wash. This medium-sized mouse reaches a total length of 15 - 18 cm (5.9 - 7.1 in). The fur is very dense and soft.

Life Cycle

Breeding takes place in the fall and winter months with a peak in January and February. From 2 - 5 young are born after a gestation period of 25 - 30 days. The young are weaned when they are 17 - 20 days old. They attain adult size in 8 - 10 weeks.

Natural History

The Golden Mouse is the most arboreal mouse in the southeastern United States. Its tail is semi-prehensile and is used for both balance and grasping. The Golden Mouse builds globular nests in and under fallen logs for winter use. In warm months, it nests in trees, vines, or clumps of Spanish moss, sometimes as high as 9.1 m (30 ft). Its arboreal nest is used as both a nursery and a shelter. The nest is constructed of an outer layer of leaves with an inner lining of grasses and soft shredded bark. This species also builds loosely constructed platforms that are used for feeding and resting. The Golden Mouse is both nocturnal and crepuscular, foraging for food through the evening and night hours. It eats a variety of seeds, nuts, berries, and insects.

Range

The Golden Mouse is found throughout the southeastern quarter of the United States, from Virginia to Missouri south to eastern Texas to Georgia and the northern half of Florida.

Conservation Status

The Golden Mouse is common in deciduous hardwood and coniferous pine forests.

Similar Species

The White-footed Mouse is similar in size and basic fur pattern, but its upper parts are reddish-brown rather than the striking golden color of the Golden Mouse.