(It`s Latin name is Mus and the house mouse is called Mus Musculus. Also Apodemus Sylvaticus is a long tailed field mouse or wood mouse)
House Mouse (Mus Musculus) or
Field Mouse (Apodemus Sylvaticus)
- There are over 30 different species of mice, including the zebra mouse, the dormouse, long tailed field or wood mouse, house mouse, spiny mouse and fancy (or pet) mouse. They are a member of the Rodent family, in the sub-family called Muroidea along with rats, gerbils and hamsters.
- House mice tend to be the most frequently spotted, and can be identified by their grey-brown fur and relatively small ears and eyes. They tend to have hairless tails. Field or wood mice can be darker chestnut in colour, or more golden brown.
- Mice generally eat the most at night time and they are known as "nocturnal herbivores" which means they mostly eat nuts, fruits and grains. However they eat little and often and can eat up to 20 times a day. They choose to live along side us. They don`t like to stray far from their nest (only 3-8 metres away generally) and so try to make their home near to a food source, which all seems very reasonable.....
- Unless their food source is your home! And then they can become a bit of an issue...
- Specifically because they are prolific reproducers! A female can start having babies at just 2 months old, and can have up to a dozen babies every three weeks! And get pregnant again within 48 hours of giving birth! That`s a lot of baby mice!
- Mice range in size from a staggeringly small 1.2 inches for a tiny little Pygmy mouse, to over 7 inches, which is enough to give most people a bit of a shock!
- House mice tend to be about 8cm with another 7cm of tail.
- Mice generally live for 1-2 years
- And weigh between half an ounce and an ounce (about 20g)
- A male is called a Buck and a female is called a Doe, like with deer. But their babies are called either Kittens or Pinkies!
- Their whiskers not only detect changes in the temperature around them, but they also can help them to identify surfaces that they`re walking on.
- They`d make great acrobats because they are incredibly good at climbing and balancing, and can not only climb very thin wires, they can also scale vertical walls.
- They prefer to travel along the side of walls rather than out in the open or the middle of the room. They can leave a "smudge" along skirting boards if they travel that route often enough.
- They are good swimmers, and can also jump up to 18 inches into their air! They can also jump down 3-4 metres without hurting themselves.
- Mice talk to each other, and not just in mouse speak, but odorously and also ultrasonically!
- And not only do they talk, but they sing! Apparently a male mouse has the ability to harmonise his vocal chords which can attract a female! I`d love to see that!
- It is believed that mice are empathic which means they are affected by how other mice feel.
- They are also intelligent, and can display moods with their facial expressions.
- Although mice are said to be incontinent and eliminate wherever they happen to be, they are actually marking their territory and where they have been.
- Mice are actually very clean and organised animals, and in their nest they have specific areas for sleeping, storing food and going to the toilet.
- However they can carry a whole range of nasty diseases in their faeces which can be harmful to humans, so it`s best not to have them in your home - and wash your hands carefully if you`ve been in contact with any droppings!
- They can squeeze through tiny gaps of just 6mm! Isn`t that about the width of a pen?!
- They will protect their territory to the death. And they don`t mind you being in it either, in fact if they consider your bed part of their territory they will happily snuggle up beside you!
- So if mice choose you as a good food source, they can be a bit of a problem to discourage. We live near fields, and always put out a lot of food for the birds which we keep stored in the sun-lounge, however this attracted a family of mice! So we bought some humane traps which are quite big cages where you leave a bit of food in it and then the door shuts behind them. Then dad takes them away from the house and lets them go. They have very good homing instincts though and so you`re supposed to take them a mile away. You`re also supposed to keep any potential food sources sealed and out of the way of temptation (including stray crumbs!) Any possible points of entry into your home need to be sealed, but that`s not always that easy considering you have to find a 6mm gap somewhere on the outside of your house!
- A mouse`s sense of smell is so strong that apparently there`s an airport security company that has trained mice to hunt out explosives!
- They are a green status mammal, which means there are lots of them. They are tasty meal though for lots of predators including cats, foxes, raptors and snakes. And sadly they can also be used in laboratory experiments, but I`m not going to get into that :-(
- But more happily the mouse is the Shamonic symbol of Wisdom, Discovery, Scrutiny and Organisation!
- And (I like this one) a collective term for mice is a Mischief! Very appropriate!
(Photo looks more like a wood mouse? Not so grey.) Pics not great because they are so fast! Blink and you miss them!
Well I think that`s given you a pretty interesting overview of this furry little critter, and hope you found out something about them that you didn`t already know!
Hope you enjoyed.