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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mus musculus

A mouse (plural: mice) is a small rodent characteristically having a pointed snout, small
rounded ears, a body-length scaly tail and a high breeding rate. The best known mouse
species is the common house mouse (Mus musculus). It is also a popular pet. In some
places, certain kinds of field mice are locally common. They are known to invade homes
for food and shelter.
Domestic mice sold as pets often differ substantially in size from the common house
mouse. This is attributable both to breeding and to different conditions in the wild. The
most well known strain, the white lab mouse, has more uniform traits that are
appropriate to its use in research.
The American white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) and the deer mouse
(Peromyscus maniculatus), as well as other common species of mouse-like rodents
around the world, also sometimes live in houses. These, however, are in other genera.
Cats, wild dogs, foxes, birds of prey, snakes and even certain kinds of arthropods have
been known to prey heavily upon mice. Nevertheless, because of its remarkable
adaptability to almost any environment, the mouse is one of the most successful
mammalian genera living on Earth today.

Mice, in certain contexts, can be considered vermin which are a major source of crop
damage,[1] causing structural damage and spreading diseases through their parasites
and feces.[2] In North America, breathing dust that has come in contact with mouse
excrement has been linked to hantavirus, which may lead to hantavirus pulmonary
syndrome (HPS).
Primarily nocturnal[3][4] animals, mice compensate for their poor eyesight with a keen
sense of hearing, and rely especially on their sense of smell to locate food and avoid
Mice build intricate burrows in the wild. These burrows typically have long entrances
and are equipped with escape tunnels or routes. In at least one species, the
architectural design of a burrow is a genetic trait. [6]

Breeding onset is at about 50 days of age in both females and males, although females
may have their first estrus at 2540 days. Mice are polyestrous and breed year round;
ovulation is spontaneous. The duration of the estrous cycle is 45 days and estrus itself
lasts about 12 hours, occurring in the evening. Vaginal smears are useful in timed
matings to determine the stage of the estrous cycle. Mating is usually nocturnal and
may be confirmed by the presence of a copulatory plug in the vagina up to 24 hours
post-copulation. The presence of sperm on a vaginal smear is also a reliable indicator of
Female mice housed together tend to go into anestrus and do not cycle. If exposed to a
male mouse or the pheromones of a male mouse, most of the females will go into
estrus in about 72 hours. This synchronization of the estrous cycle is known as the
Whitten effect. The exposure of a recently bred mouse to the pheromones of a strange
male mouse may prevent implantation (or pseudopregnancy), a phenomenon known as
the Bruce effect.[7]

The average gestation period is 20 days. A fertile postpartum estrus occurs 1424 hours
following parturition, and simultaneous lactation and gestation prolongs gestation 310
days owing to delayed implantation. The average litter size is 1012 during optimum
production, but is highly strain-dependent. As a general rule, inbred mice tend to have
longer gestation periods and smaller litters than outbred and hybrid mice. The young
are called pups and weigh 0.51.5 g (0.0180.053 oz) at birth, are hairless, and have
closed eyelids and ears. Cannibalism is uncommon, but females should not be
disturbed during parturition and for at least 2 days postpartum. Pups are weaned at 3
weeks of age; weaning weight is 1012 g (0.350.42 oz). If the postpartum estrus is not
utilized, the female resumes cycling 25 days post-weaning. [7]
Newborn male mice are distinguished from newborn females by noting the greater
anogenital distance and larger genital papilla in the male. This is best accomplished by
lifting the tails of littermates and comparing perineums.[7]

Laboratory mice
Mice are common experimental animals in laboratory research of biology and
psychology fields primarily because they are mammals, and also because they share a
high degree of homology with humans. They are the most commonly used mammalian
model organism, more common than rats. The mouse genome has been sequenced,
and virtually all mouse genes have human homologs. The mouse has approximately 2.7
billion base pairs and 20 chromosomes. [8] They can also be manipulated in ways that
are illegal with humans, although animal rights activists often object. A knockout
mouse is a genetically engineered mouse that has had one or more of its genes made
inoperable through a gene knockout.
Reasons for common selection of mice are small size, inexpensive, widely varied diet,
easily maintained, and can reproduce quickly. Several generations of mice can be
observed in a relatively short time. Mice are generally very docile if raised from birth and
given sufficient human contact. However, certain strains have been known to be quite
temperamental. Mice and rats have the same organs in the same places, with the
difference of size.

All members of the Mus genus are referred to as mice. However, the term mouse can
also be applied to species outside of this genus. Mouse often refers to any small muroid
rodent, while rat refers to larger muroid rodents. Therefore, these terms are not
taxonomically specific. For simplicity, only the rodent subgenera belonging to the Mus
genus are listed here.
Genus Mus Typical mice

Subgenus Coelomys (East Asia)

Subgenus Mus (Eurasia to North Africa, except for the house mouse which is

Subgenus Nannomys (Sub-Saharan Africa)

Subgenus Pyromys (East Asia)

Subgenus and species Mus lepidoides

As pets
Many people buy mice as companion pets. They can be playful, loving and can grow
used to being handled. Like pet rats, pet mice should not be left unsupervised outside
as they have many natural predators, including (but not limited to) birds, snakes, lizards,
cats, and dogs. Male mice tend to have a stronger odor than the females. However,
mice are careful groomers and as pets they never need bathing. Well looked-after mice
can make ideal pets. Some common mouse care products are:

Cage Usually a hamster or gerbil cage, but a variety of special mouse cages
are now available. Most should have a secure door.[9]

Food Special pelleted and seed-based food is available. Mice can generally eat
most rodent food (for rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, etc.)

Bedding Usually made of hardwood pulp, such as aspen, sometimes from

shredded, uninked paper or recycled virgin wood pulp. Using corn husk bedding

is avoided because it promotes Aspergillus fungus, and can grow mold once it
gets wet, which is rough on their feet.

In nature, mice are largely herbivores, consuming any kind of fruit or grain from plants.

However, mice adapt well to urban areas and are known for eating almost all types of

food scraps. In captivity, mice are commonly fed commercial pelleted mouse diet. These
diets are nutritionally complete, but they still need a large variety of vegetables. Food
intake is approximately 15 g (0.53 oz) per 100 g (3.5 oz) of body weight per day; water
intake is approximately 15 ml (0.53 imp fl oz; 0.51 US fl oz) per 100 g of body weight
per day.[7]

As food
Mice are a staple in the diet of many small carnivores. Humans have eaten mice since
prehistoric times and still eat them as a delicacy throughout eastern Zambia and
northern Malawi,[11] where they are a seasonal source of protein. Mice are no longer
routinely consumed by humans elsewhere.
Prescribed cures in Ancient Egypt included mice as medicine. [12] In Ancient Egypt, when
infants were ill, mice were eaten as treatment by their mothers. [13][14] It was believed that
mouse eating by the mother would help heal the baby who was ill. [15][16][17][18][19]
In various countries mice are used as food [20] for pets such as snakes, lizards, frogs,
tarantulas and birds of prey, and many pet stores carry mice for this purpose.
Common terms used to refer to different ages/sizes of mice when sold for pet food are
"pinkies", "fuzzies", "crawlers", "hoppers", and "adults". [21] Pinkies are newborn mice that
have not yet grown fur; fuzzies have some fur but are not very mobile; hoppers have a
full coat of hair and are fully mobile but are smaller than adult mice. Mice without fur are
easier for the animal to consume; however, mice with fur may be more convincing as
animal feed. These terms are also used to refer to the various growth stages of rats
(see Fancy rat).

1. Meerburg BG, Singleton GR, Leirs H (2009). "The Year of the Rat ends: time to









PMID 19206089.
2. Meerburg BG, Singleton GR, Kijlstra A (2009). "Rodent-borne diseases and











doi:10.1080/10408410902989837. PMID 19548807.

3. Behney, W. H. (1 January 1936). "Nocturnal Explorations of the Forest DeerMouse". Journal of Mammalogy. 17 (3): 225230. doi:10.2307/1374418.
JSTOR 1374418.
4. "The Field Mouse". Retrieved 15 August 2016.
5. "Mice : The Humane Society of the United States". Retrieved 15 August
6. Weber, Jesse N.; Peterson, Brant K.; Hoekstra, Hopi E. (17 January 2013).
"Discrete genetic modules are responsible for complex burrow evolution in
Peromyscus mice". Nature. 493 (7432): 402405. doi:10.1038/nature11816.
7. "Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association". Retrieved 15 August 2016.
8. "2002 Release: Draft Sequence of Mouse Genome". Retrieved 15 August
9. Sharon L. Vanderlip (2001). Mice: Everything About History, Care, Nutrition,
Handling, and Behavior. Barron's Educational Series. pp. 38. ISBN 978-0-76411812-8. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
10. "Mouse Info". Retrieved 15 August 2016.
11. Tembo, Mwizenge S. "Mice as a Delicacy: the Significance of Mice in the Diet
of the Tumbuka People of Eastern Zambia". Archived from the original on 23
June 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
12. "BBC History Ancient History in depth: Health Hazards and Cures in
Ancient Egypt". Retrieved 15 August 2016.
13. Hart, George (1 May 2001). What life was like. Time Life Books. p. 40.
ISBN 978-0-7370-1007-7.
14. Encyc of Discovery Science and History. Fog City Press. 1 September 2002.
p. 320. ISBN 978-1-876778-92-7.
15. "Tour Egypt :: Egypt: A Carefree Childhood in Ancient Egypt". Retrieved 15
August 2016.

16. Shuter, Jane (2003). The Egyptians. Raintree. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-7398-64401.

Fontanel, Batrice; D'Harcourt, Claire (1997). Babies: history, art, and

folklore. Harry N. Abrams. p. 64.

18. Coln, A. R.; Coln, P. A. (1999). Nurturing Children: A History of Pediatrics.
Greenwood Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-313-31080-5.
19. Blum, Richard H.; Blum, Eva Marie (1970). The Dangerous Hour: The Lore of
Crisis and Mystery in Rural Greece. Scribner. p. 336.
20. Food Frozen mice & rats, Canberra Exotic Pets /,
accessed 14 November 2009
21. "South Florida's True Rodent Professionals". Retrieved 29 May 2009.