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What are Field Mice?

Niki Acker
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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The term field mouse may actually refer to a number of different animals. In North America, small voles, particularly the meadow vole, are popularly called field mice. In Europe and Asia, various Apodemus species are called field mice, and field mice appear in South America as Akodon species, also called akodonts.

Meadow voles are native to Alaska, Canada, and the northern and eastern United States. These field mice are characterized by their cylindrical bodies, short legs, and short ears and tails. Their fur ranges in color from silver-gray to dark brown. Meadow voles are typically 16 cm (6.3 inches) long and weigh 50 g (1.8 oz). One subspecies of field mouse, the Florida salt marsh vole, is endangered, while the Gull Island vole of Gull Island, New York became extinct around the turn of the 20th century.

American field mice may be kept as pets, but they must be fed fresh grass and seeds daily. Dandelion, clover, and sunflower seeds are some of their favorite foods. While most meadow voles live for only about a year, they can live for up to three years in captivity.

There are at least 20 Apodemus species in Europe and Asia classified as field mice. They range from around 70 to 140 mm (2.8 to 5.5 inches) in length, in addition to their tails. Some Eurasian field mice have a fairly small range, such as the Korean field mouse, which inhabits northeastern Asia, including parts of Russia, China, and Korea. On the other hand, some species have a very large range of territory. The striped field mouse lives from Europe to Japan, and the wood mouse ranges from Great Britain and Scandinavia to southern Europe.

There are also numerous species of Akodon; currently 41 are recognized. While akodonts are sometimes referred to as field mice, they are more commonly called grass mice. Akodonts span most of South America, but are absent from the southern and western extremes of the country, as well as from the Amazon lowlands.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Niki Acker
By Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a All Things Nature editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide range of interesting and unusual topics to gather ideas for her own articles. A graduate of UCLA with a double major in Linguistics and Anthropology, Niki's diverse academic background and curiosity make her well-suited to create engaging content for WiseGeekreaders. "
Discussion Comments
By anon132788 — On Dec 08, 2010

extinct? well, just caught one in my home and took it to a pet shop as it did not look like ones I have seen before. they assured me it was a field mouse, not a weed rat or a reg. mouse. just a good old iowa field mouse. I came home looked it up and sure enough, that's what it is. hope it does well where I left it.

By anon88006 — On Jun 02, 2010

we found a baby mouse at work. thought we would keep till spring but don't know if will survive on his own if we let him go. can he survive.? i feel bad he is living in a cage on top of my refrigerator but he eats real well and he is cute. any info?

By anon66684 — On Feb 21, 2010

they are not extinct.

By Angie619 — On Nov 13, 2008

Hi ;-) I recently moved to the country, and being now we're approaching winter I find these little mic getting in the house somehow, it saddens me to find them dead via my cat, but just a couple of night ago I was sitting at my computer and heard this little thing making noise, I couldn't figure where it was coming from and then found out, my speaker system to my computer, I have this one part that sits behind my monitor and it has a what I believe is an air hole in the front well it's an opening about 1 1/2" in diameter, well the little critter is living in there, for the past two night I put a piece of bread on my desk pon going up to bed and in the morning I see it's gone, last night the piece I left was a bit large, like a third of a hamburger bun, lol I came down this morning and sure enough my thoughts of this cute little creature is definitely living in my speaker housing, the bread is in the hole opening, o.k. I knew this would be long lol, here's my questions,

o these little creatures carry any disease? would I be able to care for it?? do they eat regular mice food you would get in a pet store??

I was thinking of getting one of those habitrails and keeping it in there until Spring and then release it, I did catch one and let it out but now it's colder out there soon there will be snow and I can't put it out, so any info. would be greatly appreciated ;-) thanks much & enjoy your day everyone ;-))

By anon17385 — On Aug 28, 2008

We found a little field mouse at our credit union, and don't know what to do with it...He looks really small, like a baby, but he is eating some mouse treats we bought for him...What should we do with him? I'd hate to throw him outside, because he is so tiny! Please Help!

By anon16890 — On Aug 17, 2008

My cat just brought one to the porch. So the kids have grabbed it up and put it in a cage. Now to see if it survives as a cute pet and not as lunch for our cat outside.

By bob1954 — On May 19, 2008

found one in middle of kitchen of course as an animal lover i let it outside with cheese it's breathing but not moving from i left it. scared i think. any reason why it's not moving from the spot i left it. yes again it's breathing

By anon9430 — On Mar 06, 2008

i love field mice... ... they are so cute!!! i wish they weren't extinct... :'(

Niki Acker
Niki Acker
"In addition to her role as a All Things Nature editor, Niki Foster is passionate about educating herself on a wide...
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