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Mice at a Glance

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PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Body length 5 to 9 inches; tail 2.3 to 3.9 inches; and weight 0.6 – 0.8 ounce.
  • Grayish brown hair on top, relatively large ears, and a dusky-scaly, nearly hairless tail.
  • The hair on its bottom is only slightly lighter than the hair on its top, and it has non-grooved incisors.

DISTRIBUTION:

  • Mice spread to Europe from Asia and appeared in the 16th century in the New World as immigrants on the ships of explorers.
  • The house mouse appeared in North America sometime in the 17th century, and has been very effective at increasing their populations.
  • House mouse subspecies can now be found across the world.

HABITAT:

  • Each mouse makes their own nest, but will share burrows with other individuals within the colony.
  • The house mouse can co-habit with humans, living under large appliances or inside the walls of homes.v
  • Underground burrows, which some subspecies equip with storage rooms.
  • The house mouse does not stray far from cover, with the best habitats offering copious amounts of food, water and places to hide.
  • Their home ranges vary, from 10 feet for some indoor mice, to more than two miles for some outsiders.

BEHAVIOR: 

  • The house mouse is a social species and lives in groups with others, and aggressive males have hierarchical ranks and tend to dominate colonies.
  • Each group lives in a territory bound by scent markers, and animals within the colony have their own nests.
  • Mice will groom each other and display both aggressive and submissive postures.

FEEDING ECOLOGY:

  • House mice eat up to 10 percent of their body weight daily and feed up to 20 times each day.
  • Common foods consumed are grains, fruits, vegetables, meat, insects, and have been known to eat glue, paste, and even soap.
  • Eating moist food or seed diet of 12 % protein, they can live without water.
  • The house mouse has been known to feed on caterpillars, larvae, flightless moths and earthworms.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY:

  • Mice can reproduce copiously.
  • Breed throughout the year, litters of 3 to 12 offspring about 5 to 10 times annually.
  • Gestation takes three weeks.
  • The young mice are born hairless and their eyes are closed.
  • Young are weaned from mther by 21 days, female mice will  begin to reproduce in their second month of life, and they can live to be six years old.

Common names:  English: Mouse; French: Souris domestique; German: Hausmaus; Spanish; Ratón común.

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