Boundary Waters Unique Mouse
My first thought was, “Is that a kangaroo rat or what?” Then I thought, “We don’t have kangaroo rats in Minnesota, they live in a desert.” Of the 5 of us camping in the Boundary Waters none of us could identify the mouse that was hopping around our campfire late one evening. None of us had ever seen such a mouse and none of us was particularly fond of seeing one at that particular time.
The thing about normal mice is they seemingly come out of nowhere to startle a person with their appearance and quick movements. The mouse we were seeing had movements that were unexpected and unpredictable. Rather than running along the ground in a somewhat expected pattern the mouse we were watching leaped and bounded from one place to the next. This made the mouse seem even more threatening to the 5 BWCA campers.
We all vowed to check the internet when we got home so we could determine what kind of mouse jumped around like a kangaroo. According to my research the woodland jumping mouse is found in Northeastern Minnesota and this must have been the visitor to our Boundary Waters campsite.
from the DNR… Jumping Mice
Two species of jumping mice live in Minnesota: the meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius) and the less common woodland jumping mouse (Napaeozapus insignis). The meadow jumping mouse ranges throughout Minnesota. The woodland jumping mouse stays in the woods of northeastern Minnesota.
With their long hind feet and the longest tail of any Minnesota mouse, they can jump more than three feet to avoid danger. They are also good swimmers and divers. But the main way they avoid predators is by standing very still.