Three different species of mice are found around the Lake: the House Mouse, the Western Jumping Mouse, and the Deer Mouse. The Jumping Mouse, with its long tail and bounding departures, is easily recognized, the House Mouse is the familiar home invader around the world, the Deer Mouse is the bug-eyed resident of rural areas.
The only species I have photographed so far is the Deer Mouse. This common nocturnal mouse is best known as a sometime carrier of the Hantavirus, which can be spread through its urine, saliva, and feces. This virus causes a quite rare but serious lung disease called Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). Further information on the disease is available at HPS from the BCHealthFile. Also of interest is a CBCnews health story, Hantavirus—FAQ, which discusses the rarity of the disease. Mind you, the incidence of Deer Mice in this area is probably no higher than elsewhere in North America, and there does not seem to have ever been a known infection in this area.
The Deer Mouse, scrounges in the woods for things to eat in the middle of the night.
The adult Deer Mouse has a long tail and a somewhat tan pelage.
This Deer Mouse makes a bounding departure.
The Deer Mouse, with its bulging eyes is really quite cute. It was named for the similarity in its colour to that of the White-tailed Deer. This one is a juvenile, which is identified by it all-grey pelage above and a shorter tail than the adult (above).
While the Deer Mouse is certainly found in the field, it is more often encountered as an invader of homes where it seeks food and shelter. The problem with this is that the deadly hantavirus, sometimes found in the animal’s feces and urine, can now be transferred to humans.
The habit of a mouse to take a track along the wall of a home is often its undoing: this is the place where traps are set. Note the shorter tail of the juvenile than that of the bounding adult, above.
The tiny tracks of a deer mouse hopping across the snow show a thin central line where the tail touched down.
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Cat and mouse movie
This is a time–lapse movie of a deer mouse foraging in the forest. Along comes a cat and sniffs for the mouse. When it finally gives up, the mouse returns to its foraging.
Click picture → play; mouse out → remove caption.