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Mice are a small variety of rodent that can be found all across the globe. There are 23 different species of mice that live in Colorado, all of which can be grouped into five distinct varieties. You might not notice these tiny creatures very often, but you're probably not too far away from one right now.
Two species of harvest mice reside in Colorado: the western harvest mouse and the plains harvest mouse. Both species are small and brown -- the western harvest mouse measuring roughly 6 inches and the plains harvest mouse roughly 5 inches, including the tail. Plains harvest mice only live in open grasslands, whereas their western cousins inhabit a wider range of habitats, including woodlands and shrub-filled grasslands.
There are two species of jumping mice in Colorado: the western jumping mouse and the meadow jumping mouse. In addition, the state is one of the few places that that the endangered Preble's meadow jumping mouse -- a subspecies of the meadow jumping mouse that's protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act -- makes its home. Both species weigh around an ounce and measure roughly 10 inches, including a 5-inch tail. The western jumping mouse lives in the mountains, in forests and thickets. The meadow jumping mouse lives in the great plains, close to the Rocky Mountains.
Five species of pocket mice call Colorado their home. These are the silky pocket mouse, the hispid pocket mouse, the Great Basin pocket mouse, the plains pocket mouse and the olive-backed pocket mouse. They're actually smaller relatives of kangaroo rats and are capable of moving just on their hind legs, which they do when they're feeding. Silky pocket mice are the smallest, weighing in at 1/5 ounce and measuring 4 inches. Hispid pocket mice are the largest, weighing roughly 2 ounces and measuring 8 inches in length.
Meadow mice are more commonly referred to as voles. Their blunt snouts and small ears make them easily distinguishable from other kinds of mice. Eight vole species live in Colorado, most of which are brown and look remarkably alike. However, sagebrush voles are gray in color and southern red-backed voles have orange-red patches on their backs. They mostly live in meadows, but can also be found in some woodland and brush land. They live areas with plenty of cover and places to hide out.
There are six species of white-footed mouse that make Colorado their home: the white-footed mouse, the deer mouse, the rock mouse, the pinyon mouse, the brush mouse and the canyon mouse. These species vary in size, but are between 6 and 8 inches in length, on average, including their tails. One species or another can be found almost anywhere in the state, excluding only the very wettest places. Depending on the species, they're found in a range of different habitats, including woodlands, canyons and brush land.
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife: Wildlife Profiles and Information
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife: Harvest Mice
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife: Jumping Mice
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services: Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife: Pocket Mice
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife: Voles or Meadow Mice
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife: White-Footed Mice
- David De Lossy/Valueline/Getty Images