Can Mice Jump? 11 Facts


Pretty much everyone knows that mice are seriously agile creatures. They can squeeze into the tightest spaces, climb up a range of surfaces, and burrow into all sorts of holes. But can they jump?

Mice are very skillful jumpers. They can usually jump to about 9.5 inches (24cm), which is more than twice their height for the average mouse. They can also jump much further distances safely when moving horizontally, or downwards.

It may surprise you to learn about how high and far they can leap at any given time. It turns out that these little guys are better at jumping than most people realize. Yes, people tend to think about a mouse scurrying around and hiding in the undergrowth, but there’s a whole lot more to them than that.

So, to help you get a better understanding of their jumping ability, we have brought together 11 cool facts that are all connected to just how good a mouse is at jumping around.

Mouse a corn sheaf

Fact 1 – They Can Jump to a Height of Around 24 cm

Now, this may not sound like much. After all, if you measure out 24 cm, then you will look at the height and perhaps won’t be that impressed.

However, you need to keep in mind the size of your mouse.

A mouse is going to be anywhere from 3 cm to 10 cm in length, so to be able to jump more than double their length is seriously impressive.

Can you imagine if you were able to do that with your own height? How cool would you feel in having that particular ability?

Also, that’s only some of the species that will leap to that height. Some have been known to jump higher than this, but they are rarer, so that 24 cm is an average. [Source]

Fact 2 – They Can Jump Downward to 8ft

A mouse is also amazingly good at jumping downward without hurting themselves.

Some have been measured jumping downward to a distance of 8ft, and that is a huge distance for an animal that is so small in size.

Of course, this is all going to be linked to their need to survive and to get out of some sticky situations.

Having this ability to jump to escape danger is something they will use on a regular basis, but you would never have expected them to be able to jump such a distance as this.

Fact 3 – They Will Jump Up Even at Height

A mouse is going to take that leap of faith even when they are already at a substantial height. This is due to them not having any fear of heights.

They don’t even really comprehend that where they are at is high up and that falling would potentially result in their death.

This lack of fear allows them to go ahead and jump around if they feel that the situation calls for it. Also, they see this act of being able to jump as another way to explore what is around them.

After all, a mouse does enjoy checking out what is around their nest, and that also includes what is above their nest.

Fact 4 – There is a Species Called a Jumping Mouse

There is actually a species called a jumping mouse, and they are called this thanks to the way in which they move around.

They will either run on all four legs like a normal mouse or, alternatively, they will bounce along, making lots of little jumps.

Think about a mouse acting like a Kangaroo, and you get the general idea.

These little guys are primarily found in both North America and China, and they can jump around for an extended period of time if it means they can get away from predators. [Source]

A jumping mouse, and there are several other varieties in different parts of the world, can leap for several feet at a time.

They can also do this quite quickly, so you can see how it makes a difference to them being able to get out of the way of danger.

Fact 5 – Some Species Can Jump Up to 13ft Horizontally

This is perhaps the most surprising fact of all, but some species of mice can jump up to 13ft horizontally, and that is stunning.

The main species that can achieve this is the jumping mouse, and they are helped by their tail. 

With this species, their tail is exceptionally long, and they use it like a springboard, but they also have very strong legs for an animal of their size. But those two things alone won’t be enough for them to achieve those distances.

Instead, it tends to happen when they are scared and in fear. That sense of fear gives them an adrenaline boost to get away from the danger, and they will have already been bouncing along to escape in order to build up momentum. 

When all of those things come together, it can lead to them being able to achieve this extraordinary distance in one single leap. You can see how it can help them to get away from certain dangers considering the distance.

Brown mouse jumping through the air

Fact 6 – Their Tail Helps Them 

When jumping from one surface to another, a mouse is going to be primarily concerned about their balance. This is where their tail is going to come into play.

A mouse will use its tail to balance itself just before it jumps.

They know that they need to be perfectly balanced in order to make those distances, so they won’t take off until they feel perfectly balanced.

Remember that your mouse is very adept at using their tail in various ways, so making sure they are well-balanced is a common occurrence. However, it does make them feel far more confident at being able to make the jump in this instance.

Also, their tail is for balance. It’s not really used as a springboard, but it does give them the confidence to use all of their power from their hind legs when they are aware they won’t simply fall over.

That feeling of confidence will make a significant difference to the distances they are able to achieve.

Fact 7 – They Will Jump to Access Food

If a mouse senses that there is some sort of food source nearby, then this will compel them to go ahead and jump upwards, downwards, or horizontally in order to get it.

Remember that a mouse is a scavenger, so they will use any trick in the book to get to that food, so leaping a distance substantially longer than their body length is not going to be a problem.

They will not have that feeling of danger, as they will be so focused on getting to the food that any other thoughts will not even be given access to their mind.

Now, we aren’t saying that a mouse will simply realize that there’s some food around, and then take a leap of faith. They are far more calculating than all of that.

Instead, they will weigh up every aspect before they go ahead and take that leap to get to the food. So, don’t be surprised if you see your pet mouse standing up on their hind legs, their whiskers moving to sense what is there, and then taking that leap. 

Fact 8 – A Mouse With Long Hind Legs is Better for Jumping

With a mouse, the overwhelming majority of the power is going to come from their hind legs.

If you look closely at the main jumping species, their hind legs are longer than normal, and that’s the part that makes the difference. 

When you think about it, this is not that different from us humans. We use our legs in the same way to generate power, but it’s the fact that a mouse can jump several times its length with ease that is the most astonishing part of all of this.

Also, if you were able to slow down the jumping process, you would see the way in which they really do engage their legs to such an extent that you can identify the power and where it is coming from. 

The mouse will make a slight crouching move, as that is when the leg muscles will really kick into action.

They then use the muscles and some explosive power to effectively throw themselves either upward or forward, resulting in those rather impressive leaps.

Fact 9 – They Can Jump Onto Slender Spots

As well as distance, a mouse is also quite adept at jumping onto slender spots. That does mean their accuracy is also outstanding. 

Considering they have poor eyesight, the fact they can achieve this accuracy is amazing. Of course, they can see shapes and shadows, so they use those senses to judge everything, including where to land.

The fact that they are able to do this over a huge distance, when compared to the size of the animal, then it makes everything even more impressive. 

Also, don’t be surprised if they combine their amazing climbing ability with being able to jump.

They are quite adept at climbing up on one surface to get to something that they feel could be a bit of a launchpad, and then throwing themselves off it and landing elsewhere.

They are very agile when you pay attention to everything that is going on. 

Fact 10 – Jumping Can Be a Sign of Being Happy

A mouse that is jumping may be a great sign for a pet owner to see. That is because it can be linked to them being very happy at whatever is going on at that time. 

It’s sort of like us when we are very excited and become way more animated.

However, the mouse has limited actions that it can perform, so jumping around in a quick manner is one of their tell-tale ways of showing us that they are overjoyed with life.

It should be stressed that jumping around in this sense is more like a pounce than some of the jumps we have described above.

So, look at what they are doing, and how they are doing it, in order to determine what it is that they are really trying to tell you.

Fact 11 – Constant Jumping is a Bad Thing

Finally, if a mouse is constantly jumping around, and by that we mean small jumps rather than the huge leaps mentioned earlier, then it may be a sign that all is not too well.

The key here is in the constant nature of the jump. It’s going to be something that they do a lot, and for no apparent reason.

In this instance, it may indicate that they have some sort of neurological issue going on, and it’s perhaps best to have them checked out.

Now, it could be that they are just effectively wired like this, so don’t think that if they do jump around on a constant basis that it means 100% that something is wrong. That needn’t be the case.

However, it’s always best to play it safe and get some professional advice. You never know what may be going on, and you don’t want to leave it all up to chance.

So, those are 11 facts all about mice and their jumping ability. They are amazing creatures, and that is displayed in the way that they can outjump their size several times over. 

The way in which they can leap amazing distances for such a small creature is something people find difficult to wrap their head around.

You can only imagine how we would feel if we could all do the same thing ourselves. So, the next time you see a mouse jumping, just remember that they are pretty skilled at doing this, and try not to act surprised when you check out the distances they are able to achieve.

Barry Gray

Barry is a freelance writer from Scotland. He has written about pets for over a decade, and his work has been turned into a range of ebooks, courses, and material for diplomas. Barry is passionate about all animals, but particularly dogs, fish, rabbits, birds and spiders. You can find out more about Barry at https://mercurypets.com/our-writers/

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