The house mouse is a small rodent that lives in the habitations of humans. Unlike the rat, a house mouse is very small and does not cause as much structural damage to the house they live in. However, they can contaminate any food sources in a building by breaking into the cupboards and leaving dropping near food. They are also dangerous in that they can easily pass parasites and diseases to humans through their droppings or saliva. The easiest way that you can tell you have a mouse infestation is little chewing marks on your food containers and cupboards.
The house mouse is easily recognizable. It is small, measuring only up to eight inches from nose to tail. The house mouse can come in a variety of colors from white, black, brown and gray. The nose, ears and tail are pink with just a touch of hair and it is generally described as very cute. House mice are formidable survivors, being able to survive in even the most unfavorable conditions. They can live anywhere that offers a bit of warmth and protection from the elements; this could be in a barn, in a shed, a house, a car or woodpiles. However, the only place that they are sure to live is around humans because our crumbs are what they eat.
House mice are not only a successful species because they are adaptable to any environment, they also reproduce very quickly. A female mouse will go into heat whenever there is a male present and she will be in heat for anywhere between 4-6 days. The house mice’s gestation period lasts anywhere between 19 and 21days, allowing one female to produce 5 to 10 litters of 3-14 babies a year. Male mouse reach sexual maturity at 6 weeks and a female mouse will reach maturity at 8 weeks. All of this contributes to having a very big house mouse problem very quickly if the conditions are right to produce rampant and frenzied breeding. The average life expectancy for a house mouse is less than a year, but if it is raised in captivity or has found a sheltered environment, the house mouse could live up to four years.
Most house mice will run and stand on all fours but stand in the upright position when eating or fighting. Mice communicate in several different ways. For example, house mice will communicate through what humans hear as squeaks, but they also will communicate using pheromones located in their urine or tear fluids. Mice will use their whiskers to sense movement on all types of surfaces and in air pressures.
Just like rats, mice have their place in science also. Mice are used in clinical and medical trials in order to understand the effect of substances and diseases in the human body. However, they are mainly used to test chemicals and medications that are being developed for human use. They can also be used in psychological testing in hopes of getting a better understanding of how the brain and memory operates. The most famous of these experiments would be the mouse trying to memorize a maze in order to get a piece of cheese. As much as mice have damaged our houses, they have also contributed to helping humans.
House mice can also be kept as pets, but it is recommended that if you want to have pet mice to get them from a breeder or a pet store as they can have a nasty temper when in the wild. They can also harbor harmful diseases and parasites when not raised in captivity. The usual pet mice breed is called the fancy mouse.
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