NEBRASKAland July 2018

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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6 NEBRASKAland • JULY 2018 Meadow Jumping Mouse Lindsay Rogers is an outdoor education specialist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. By Lindsay Rogers As one might suspect, the meadow jumping mouse is easily characterized by its unusually large hind feet used for hopping and leaping. It is also identified by its long tail which is over half of its total body length (180-235 millimeters). Meadow jumping mice are mainly nocturnal, although they can also be somewhat crepuscular – active at dawn and dusk. They feed on mainly insects in the spring months and seeds, berries and grasses in the summer and fall. In September, adults enter hibernation, with juveniles entering hibernation later in October. Hibernation ends in April or May. Reproduction quickly follows emergence from hibernation. Gestation is only about 18 days, which means the first of up to three annual litters are born in May to early June. Although born blind, deaf, hairless and claw-less, the young are weaned and fully independent at about four weeks. Its ability to jump up to one meter in the air is important when trying to escape predators. Weasels, foxes, hawks and owls all prey on jumping mice. ■ A Mammal Brief PHOTO BY GARY MEZAROS

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