The Florida Mouse

Scientific Name
Podomys floridanus
Also Known As
Florida Mouse
Central Florida*
Seeds, Fruits, Insects
Life Expectancy
1 Year
The Florida Deer Mouse

Photo 128624678 (c) rupununiwildlife, CC BY-NC

Florida Deer Mouse conservation status - Vulnerable

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Florida Mice in Central Florida

The Florida mouse (Podomys floridanus) is a small native rodent found throughout peninsular Florida. Often confused with the introduced house mouse (Mus musculus), the Florida mouse can be identified by its larger ears, grayish brown fur, and preference for wooded habitats.

This guide covers the biology, behavior, and control of Florida mice, an endemic rodent of conservation concern that also invades homes in central Florida seeking food and shelter

Appearance and Identification

The Florida mouse has characteristic features that distinguish it from similar looking house mice

An Adult Florida Deer Mouse

Photo 256866114 (c) lparks713, CC BY-NC

Adult Florida Water Rat

  • Size: Adults reach about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) in length including the tail. Their bodies alone are 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) and they weigh 0.5 to 1 ounce (14 to 28 grams).
  • Tail: The tail is scaly with only a few short hairs and constitutes 60% of total body length.
  • Fur: The dorsal fur of adults is grayish brown while the ventral surface is white to light gray. Guard hairs are black-tipped, giving a flecked appearance.
  • Ears: Ears are very large, round, and sparsely haired.
  • Feet: Hind feet are broad with white undersides. They have small toes tipped with sharp claws for digging.

Juvenile Florida Water Rat

  • Size: Newborns are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long and weigh around 0.2 ounces (5 grams). They reach 3.5 to 4 inches (9 to 10 cm) including the tail by 5-6 weeks old.
  • Fur: Juvenile fur is gray-brown in color with some black hairs interspersed. The underbelly is white to light gray. The fur is soft and dense as they grow.
  • Features: Younger Florida mice have larger hindfeet, ears, and eyes compared to body size. The tail is hairless.

The introduced house mouse has smaller body size, ears, feet, and tail. House mice also have uniformly gray-brown fur without flecking from black guard hairs. Florida mice are found more often in natural habitats compared to the human-adapted house mouse.

Maturation Rate

Young Florida mice are sexually mature by 6 weeks old. Their average lifespan is about 1 year in the wild. Predation limits most Florida mice to just several months of life. Their high reproductive capacity allows rapid rebound after population declines.

Habits and Behavior

Florida mice are mostly nocturnal but may be active during daytime as well. They prefer wooded, shrubby areas but also invade garages, sheds, and homes. Florida mice are solitary and territorial, with home ranges of 0.1 to 0.25 acres (0.04 to 0.1 hectares).

Their nests are globular, 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) in diameter, and built either underground or under debris on the surface. Nests are lined with grasses, stems, Spanish moss, and shredded palmetto fronds. Florida mice occasionally climb but mostly forage on the ground, digging for seeds and insects.

Reproduction and Lifespan

Florida mice can breed year-round in central Florida. Females produce up to 7 litters annually with 1 to 7 young per litter. The gestation period is 23 days and the eyes open by 2 weeks old. Weaning occurs by 3 weeks of age