Small mammals that are active all year must develop ways to survive the cold winters. Endotherms that experience prolonged cold exposure often increase their thermogenic capacity. Thermogenic capacity incorporates basal metabolic rate (BMR), nonshivering thermogenesis (NST), and shivering thermogenesis (ST). Increasing the capacity of any of these components will result in increased thermogenic capacity. It is often thought that NST should be the most plastic component of thermogenic capacity and as such is the most likely to increase with cold acclimation. We used deer mice to test this hypothesis by acclimating 27 animals to one of two temperatures (5 degrees or 22 degrees C) for 8 wk. We then measured and compared values for thermogenic capacity--BMR, ST, and NST--between the two groups. Thermogenic capacity and NST increased by 21% and 42%, respectively, after cold acclimation. Neither BMR nor ST showed any change after acclimation. Therefore, it appears that deer mice raise their thermogenic capacity in response to prolonged cold by altering NST only.