The house mouse is the most common domestic mouse and is found in almost every hospitable country in the world, but its popularity does not end there. They are also the most common laboratory mouse, used in aiding research for medical breakthroughs. This type of mouse is also the most popular mouse in pet stores. You may also know this tiny creature as a fancy mouse, despite its somewhat ordinary, traditional looks.
House mice are not scared of humans and are sociable animals. This means they are far more likely to come into your home voluntarily. They live in both rural and urban landscapes, but may be particularly annoying for farm owners or those who live near open fields. Their diet is predominately cereal grains, but mice eat almost anything in your home.
House Mouse Identification
House mice are relatively small and may grow up to four inches in length, with an additional four inches of tail. They are brown with a speckled coat and have pink noses, feet and ears. They may squeak when active, which is at night, and may become a pest in your home in cooler months or when seeking refuge. They are not scared of humans, unlike other mice.
Distinguishing between male and female is particular difficult without seeing the sex itself. Both genders are relatively small compared to other mice, but especially other rodents that outsize them and may hunt for them as a food source. The house mouse is exactly what you would expect of a mouse and is one of the most common of its kind. Droppings, gnawing or small footprints through your home may also be indications of mouse life.
House Mouse Habitat
House mice have a variety of common habitats, which are mostly influenced by humans. They are the most common laboratory mouse and are bred extensively in captivity throughout the world. This may be for use in a lab, but they are also very common pets and are sold in the millions around the world at pet stores or by home breeders. House mice have become domesticated over time and are very sociable and interactive creatures.
Their natural habitat is also particularly flexible. House mice live in both rural and urban areas but may move to other locations to meet their dietary needs. House mice may be found near water but do not typically live near wetlands. They prefer cereal grains and other crops, and as such, are an agricultural rodent. In spite of this, these creatures can eat pretty much anything, including common household items or materials. Like many mice, they nest. A mouse nest is a burrow or sanctuary in which they can seek protection.
House Mouse Life Cycle
House mice are considered prolific breeders. Females have a very short gestation period and nursing time and are able to breed every month in the year, as they do not hibernate, producing usually eleven litters per year, with as many as fourteen pups in each litter, though the average is only eight. The mother will wean her young for a very short period of time to hep facilitate the final development stages, such as the fur, the opening of the eyes and growing to full size. Males do not play a part in reproduction past mating, and there is no known ritual or courtship for this species in general.
Females may not become sexually mature if there is a high population of females in any one area. If a male urinates in a high population colony, the females will become fertile within a few days due to the pheromones in his urine. Usually, however, most house mice are mature with five to eight weeks of conception, which is very young compared to many other mice or rodents.
House Mouse and Humans
The house mouse has been domesticated by humans to the point that even those born in the wild do not fear and may even initiate contact with humans. They are the most commonly used mouse in medical laboratories due to their bland genetic pallet and ability to reproduce quickly. They provide effective results on many medical conditions and do not interfere with the results, as they share many of the same genetic characteristics as humans on a genetic level.
The house mouse is also a very common pet and may be purchased in many pet stores across the world; these are also be known as fancy mice. House mice may even be purchased as a live food source for other larger animals, such as snakes, that require high protein meals on a regular basis. Owners may breed them to feed, or purchase regularly from pet stores.
House Mouse Control
Control requires several steps. The first is sanitation. This is important because house mice will leave urine, feces and other toxic or unsanitary problems in their wake. A deep cleaning is recommended, and further cleaning may be required in the duration of pest control or after any dead mice are found. This can also help reduce the risk of disease, which may be transported by these rodents.
Maintenance: House mice can jump, though not very high. This means you should ensure that trees with extended branches are trimmed, grass is kept low and that trash cans are secure. These scavengers will look anywhere for food, so general maintenance is important to prevent mice from going where they shouldn’t.
Mouse traps: Mouse traps work by reducing the population number. How many you use depends on the size of the infested area and how many suspected house mice you have. Traps work by baiting the mouse to the device before snapping shut and killing it. These traps should be removed, and emptied regularly, as they can create sanitation problems.
Cats: These trained predators are very good at keeping mice populations low in general and are especially useful in rural areas where other rodents may also cause pest problems. They can be used as a preventative and control method.
Where wide scale infestations have arisen, stronger methods should be considered. Poison baits, electronic devices and other mouse trapping devices are available at most hardware stores. Many of these methods rely on chemicals that are created to contaminate entire nesting grounds to remove larger populations within a short space of time and should be applied in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
House Mouse Zoology
House mice belong to the animalia family, under the chordata phylum which is common to most mice. They are broadly classed as mammalia, but are also apart of the great rodentia family which contains many closely related species. House mice have their own subfamily, the murinae and belong to the Mus genus, or M. musculus species specifically.
Due to their high population counts and extensive human breeding and development programs, there are seven further subgroups which are quickly becoming identified as their owns species of house mice but as of yet, this is not official. This highlights how much human interaction with house mice has affected their species indefinably.