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House mouse

House mice are extremely common and are most active during the night, as they do not like bright lights.

As the name suggests they live in close proximity to humans and will eat almost anything including their own poo (to acquire nutrients produced by bacteria in their intestines)!

House mice can breed all year round, the gestation period is 19 – 21 days and on average will produce 6 – 8 young, all of which are blind, deaf and naked until 2 weeks of age. They are mature at just 6 – 8 weeks but cab breed as young as 5 weeks old. In the wild they are lucky to survive past 1 year of age.

Mice 24 Nov 2004

Image via Wikipedia

Identification

  • Body length of 7 – 10cm
  • Tail length of 5 – 10cm
  • Vary in colour from grey to light brown to dark brown
  • Ears have very little hair
  • Black droppings, about 3mm long and a strong musty smell
  • The voice is a high pitched squeak

Latin name: Mus musculus

Common house mouse (Mus musculus), wild type.

Image via Wikipedia

In the garden

As you have probably learnt from the overview house mice are extremely common and can breed very rapidly. House mice can transmit diseases and damage food and packaging, but if you find yourself with a house mouse problem but don’t want to hurt or kill them you can buy ‘live traps’ which are commercially available but remember that house mice have adapted to live in human environments so may not fare well if released into the countryside.

Did you know

  • House mice (and other rodents) can not vomit
  • Mice are scared of rats that will kill (and often eat) them. This behavior is known as ‘muricide’
  • House mice have no or very little colour vision
  • Gough Island, in the south pacific had house mice introduced to it in the 18th century by human visitors. The mice have now learnt to attack rare albatross chicks by working in groups and gnawing on them until they bleed to death. Its is estimated that the 700,000 mice on the island kill over 1 million chicks each year.