Zap-a-what? Okay, we don’t call it that, but Zapus hudsonius is the scientific name of the Meadow Jumping Mouse. This distant relative of us squirrels–we are both rodents–is common throughout eastern North America. If you’ve seen a mouse with a tail nearly as long as mine, it’s probably Zapus.
I’ve had to borrow pictures, but as a result I’ve found a very cool website devoted to wildlife. If you need to do animal research, I recommend Animal Diversity Web. Our photos today are by Phil Myers (photographer; copyright holder), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan.
Mice and their look-alikes, voles, are common in suburban areas, especially where people feed birds. Though we both frequent the people feeding spots, otherwise we don’t see a lot of each other. Mice prefer small seeds to acorns. They can’t climb trees and we don’t spend much time on the ground. So we aren’t competing for food or space.
Water, on the other hand, we both need. All wildlife in the area of my leaf nest were on high alert yesterday because of the activities at the backyard pond. Ol’ Wally braved the people, who he said were too busy to notice him, and came back with a report.
Plants. They’re putting plants in the water. Ol’ Wally went back to watch, so I didn’t have a chance to ask him why. I’ll get a better explanation soon.