|Title||Travel path characteristics for free-living white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus)|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1995|
|Authors||McMillan, BR, Kaufman, DW|
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Zoology|
Characteristics of the travel paths of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) were examined by tracking animals marked with fluorescent pigment in a wooded site in northeastern Kansas. Based on 84 trails made by 49 individuals, it was concluded that tops of structural features (rocks, branches, logs, or rock fence) were selectively used for nighttime travel. Trails averaged 41.7% structural features (SE = 6.0%), whereas sample points 20 cm away from trails averaged 18.0% structural features (SE = 1.8%). This pattern of use of structural features did not differ between male and female mice. Nighttime illumination (according to the moon phase) and season did not affect the proportion of structural features used along travel paths; this suggests that risk from visual predators was not driving the pattern of use of structural features for travel paths by white-footed mice. Rather, white-footed mice may have used surface structure for travel because structural features provide paths that are more easily traveled and remembered. Trees were climbed infrequently (0.6 trees per 100 m of trail), but more in autumn (1.9 trees per 100 m of trail) than in other seasons (0.2 trees per 100 m of trail), which likely resulted from greater availability of seeds, nuts, and fruits during autumn than during other seasons.