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"buck-mouse," "long-tailed deer-mouse," and other appellations suggestive of leaping. In its general habits, it is probably the least destructive of all the mice; for, besides being less numerous than the others, its food consists almost entirely of the seeds of wild plants and weeds.

Though my limits are brief, I will present a little account of its characteristics. In escaping from pursuit, the jumping-mouse usually progresses rapidly by a series of long jumps, often clearing four or five feet at a leap: these leaps are made so rapidly, and in such uncertain directions (usually zigzag, like the flight of a snipe), that it is very difficult to catch it. It walks on all-fours, like a common mouse, when not alarmed; and often will, in escaping, double on its tracks, and steal away through the grass, crouching close to the ground. This species, when in the woods, digs its burrow usually beneath a stump or log: this burrow is not very deep or complicated, usually having but one passage. In the fields it builds a nest, sometimes in a tussock of grass, or beneath a stone, or perhaps in a pile of rubbish. It sometimes lays up a winter-store of seeds and grains; but it usually hibernates, although not in an entirely toipid state, it being almost always active on being discovered.

I once, in the winter-season, while cutting up a partially-decayed stump, found a nest with a pair of these little animals: the nest was made of grass and leaves; but there was no store of seeds or grain. Whether or not the shock of the axe splitting the wood awoke them, they were lively, and soon escaped by their long leaps. The jumping-mouse is not very prolific, bringing forth but three or four at a birth but once or twice a year. I have given this rather full description of the habits of this animal, because there is a great confusion in the accounts of some other writers; many describing it as being torpid through the winter; others contradicting them, saying it is active through the year.

In the sub-family murinse are included the genus Mus, comprehending the common brown or Norway rat, and the brown mouse or house mouse, whose habits are so well known, that they need no description here; and the genus Hcspcromys and Neotoma, the former of which is the most interesting to the rural economist. The prominent characteristics of this genus are a moderate-sized head, pointed to the muzzle; large eyes; large, rounded, and nearly naked ears; and a long, cylindrical tail.

The species are abundantly distributed throughout the continent, and are known by the name white-footed and hamster-mice in the Northern, red and long-tailed mice in the Middle, cotton and rice field mice in the Southern, and prairie-mice in the Western States. They are all eminently injurious, and in some sections are a great nuisance.


The White-footed Mouse (Hesperomys leucopus) is very generally known in New England and the North. It often takes up a residence in dwellinghouses, where it has all the habits of the common brown mouse. It does considerable mischief in nurseries of young trees by gnawing off the tender bark, and eating the young buds; but as it lives more generally in fields and meadows, in long grass and weeds, than in cultivated grounds, it is less troublesome than the arvicolinas.

The white-footed mouse builds a large nest, usually in the branches or hollow trunk of a tree. It often occupies a deserted bird's nest, which it enlarges to meet the wants of its family. It is more prolific than the preceding, having two or three litters of six or eight young in the year.

The most important group of the mice is the arvicolinas, in which are included all our short-tailed meadow or field mice, — Arvicola. These are distinguished by their short, thick body; short tail, usually less than half the length of the body; and short, strong limbs. All the species of this group, which are distributed throughout the whole continent, burrow in


Thk Mbadow-mouss {Arvicola riparid).

the earth or beneath the roots of a shrub or tussock of grass. They all feed upon grasses, bulbous-roots, seeds, and grains. They do not hibernate, but are active through the winter, seeking their food through the deepest snows. Robert Kennicott, who wrote a valuable paper on these vermin in the Patent-office Report for 1856, says,—

"The greatest mischief done by meadow-mice is the gnawing of bark from fruit-trees. The complaints are constant and grievous, throughout the Northern States, of the destruction of orchard and nursery trees by the various species of arvicola. The entire damage done by them in this way maybe estimated, perhaps, at millions of dollars. If any think this too large an estimate, let them inquire, even in a small neighborhood where much attention is paid to fruit-growing, and it will be found, that, wherever they abound, the injuries committed by these pests are frequently among the most serious difficulties encountered by the nomologist. This is especially the case at the West, where no care is taken to protect the trees against them; careless orchardists allowing grass to grow about the roots of their fruit-trees, and thus kindly furnishing the arvicolae with excellent nesting-places in winter, and rendering the trees doubly liable to be girdled. I

In the nurseries in Northern Illinois, I have seen whole rows of young apple-trees stripped of their bark for a foot or two above the ground. Thousands of fruit-trees, as well as evergreens and other ornamental trees and shrubs, are at times thus killed in a nursery in one winter. The mice are most mischievous in winters of deep snow. It is usually thought that they only gnaw bark when no other food is to be obtained ; but it is more probable that this is palatable to them at all times. Confined specimens, while abundantly supplied with food of all kinds, ate the bark from twigs placed in their cage. One reason why fruit-trees are most girdled in times of deep snow is, that the meadow-mice can then best move about at a distance from their burrows, being protected by the snow, under which they construct numerous pathways, and are thus enabled to travel comfortably in search of food, always to be obtained in abundance where there is any kind of perennial grass or the seeds of annual plants. Aided by the snow,


THE WOOD-MOUSE (A. pimtmim).

too, they climb up the sides of the trees to gnaw the bark at a considerable height from the ground. Rabbits are often accused of gnawing the

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bark from trees, when the mischief has really been done by meadowmice."

In concluding this short paper, it will be proper to mention some of the methods that have been adopted for the destruction of these pests. Dig in the earth, at the beginning of cold weather, short trenches, four feet wide at the bottom, and three feet wide at the top, and about four feet deep; the ends inclined at the same angle as the sides. The earthwalls of these trenches, after becoming frozen, are impassable to mice that have fallen in, as they will in great numbers. I am informed by a Scotch gardener, that he has killed upwards of nine thousand in one winter in this manner. Various poisonous preparations have been used, some very effectively. A few of the best are as follows: Mix one ounce of finely-powdered arsenic and one ounce of lard into a stiff dough with meal or flour; make into pills, and scatter them about the haunts of the rats and mice. Mix one ounce of flour, two ounces of lard, and half a drachm of phosphorus, made also into pills ; or one ounce of flour, two ounces of powdered cheese-crumbs, and half a drachm of phosphorus. An effective poison is made of the following: Two ounces of finely-powdered arsenic, two ounces of lard, ten drops of oil of rhodium, mixed with flour or meal into thick dough, and pills of it scattered about the orchards and nurseries.

As " prevention is better than cure," so it is better to avoid the chance of having mice in gardens and nurseries than to kill them after they have got there. Before the snow falls then, all rubbish, such as brushwood, straw, weeds, and other litter, should be raked up and burned ; for these furnish comfortable homes for these pests. Have no piles of strawy manure about; and, above all, take off all piles of stones that may have accumulated. It is better to have them scattered over the surface of the ground than to have them offering a safe asylum for hordes of vermin. In the summer, spare all harmless snakes and owls, for their chief food is of mice and insects; and a few of these benefactors will keep clean a large tract of land. E. A. Samuels.

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