House Mice

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The House Mouse
The house mouse is a small rodent, mouse, one of the most frequent species of the genus Mus. As a wild animal, the house mouse mainly lives accompanying humans, causing harm to crops and stored foods.  The house mouse has been domesticated as a pet or fancy mouse and as laboratory mouse’s being one of the most important model organisms in biology and medicine. It is the most frequently used genetically altered laboratory mammal.

Young males and females are not easily told apart. Like Humans, female mice have a considerably smaller distance between their anus and genital openings. Females have five pairs of mammary glands along with nipples with males have no nipples. When mice are sexually mature the most prominent and obvious difference is the presence of testicles on the males. They are large compared to the rest of the body and can also be withdrawn into the body.

Behaviour
House mice normally run, walk, or stand on all fours, but when eating and fighting they stand only on their hind legs using their tail for support. When they run they raise their tail till horizontal giving them better balance however, this changes when the mouse is frightened. Mice are also very good jumpers, climbers, and swimmers.
Mice are mostly active during dusk or at night with them not liking bright lights. Mice live in a wide range of hidden, out of the way places that are near food sources and construct nests from numerous soft materials. Mice are very territorial with one dominant male that usually lives with several females and their young. Dominant males are respectful of each other's territory and will only normally enter another's territory if it is vacant. If two or more male mice are caged together, they will often turn aggressive towards each other unless they have been raised together from birth.
House mice mainly feed on plant material, but are omnivorous. They will even eat their own droppings to obtain nutrients produced by bacteria in their intestines. House mice, like most other rodents do not vomit.
Mice are afraid of rats who will often kill and partially eat mice. Despite this, in natural environments rats and mice do live together in forest areas. House mice are normally poor contestants and in most areas will not survive away from human settlements where other small mammals, such as wood mice, are present.

Senses and communication

Vision

As mainly night-time animals, house mice have very little if not, no colour vision. Their visual apparatus is in essence similar to humans, but differs decidedly in at least one respect. The ventral area of the mouse retina has a much greater density of ultraviolet-sensitive cones than other areas of the retina, although the biological significance of this structure is unknown.

Hearing

Mice can hear over a wide range of frequencies, from 80 Hz to 100 kHz such as the ultrasound range, but are most sensitive in the 15–20 kHz range and around 50 kHz. They communicate in two ranges that are the human audible range with squeaks used for long-distance warnings, and in the ultrasound range for short-distance communication.

Olfaction

House mice also rely on pheromones for more social communication, some of which are produced by the preputial glands of both sexes. The tear fluid and urine of male mice also contains pheromones, such as major urinary proteins. Mice detect pheromones mainly with the vomeronasal organ (Jacobson's organ), located at the bottom of the nose.
The urine of a house mouse, especially that of males, has a distinguishing strong odour. There are at least 10 different compounds such as alkanes, alcohols, etc, that are detectable in the urine. Among them are five compounds that are specific to males, namely 3-cyclohexene-1-methanol, aminotriazole (3-amino-s-triazole), 4-ethyl phenol, 3-ethyl-2,7-dimethyl octane and 1-iodoundecane.
Scents from adult males or from pregnant or lactating females can speed up or delay sexual maturing in juvenile females and can synchronise reproductive cycles in mature females. Odours of unfamiliar male mice may terminate pregnancies.

Touch

Mice can sense surfaces and air movements with their whiskers which are also used during orientation. Mice are blind from birth leading to super-normal growth of the whiskers presumably as a compensatory response, or if the whiskers are absent, the use of vision is intensified.

A mouse can be annoying where mice can be a bigger problem! Getting rid of mice can be done in many ways such as the use of traps that kill or catch and poisons. Controlling mice in and around your home must be taken seriously as they can introduce illnesses to your family as well as transfer fleas to pets.

  • Mice will normally sleep for over 12 hours a day.
  • Mice eat, or at least chew anything that is softer than their teeth.
  • Mice are very neat as they will sleep, eat and excrete in different places.
  • Mice do not like rats as rats are known to prey on mice however in the wild they do live together.
  • Mice can jump straight up to about 18 inches and are also very good climbers and swimmers.
  • A male mouse is called a buck.
  • A female mouse is called a doe.
  • The offspring of mice are called pups or kitten.
  • A group of mice are called a family, horde or a nest.
  • A wild mouse will live no longer than 1 year.
  • A pet mouse may live for between 2 and 3 years.
  • A mouse’s tail is almost as long as its body.
  • Mice do not see in colour.
  • Mice are nocturnal creatures.
  • Mice can and will chew through anything softer than their teeth.
  • Mice cause more than 1 billion dollars’ worth of damage in the US alone each year.

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