What you need to know about mice
No-one wants to find a mouse in their property. Not only do many people have a fear of these tiny but scurrilous creatures, they are also a threat to both property and health. In order to understand this creature from the rodent family, we take a look at a few interesting mouse facts including their preferred habitat, what they eat and the damage they can cause to your home.
- Genus: Mus
- Class: Mammalia
- Family: Muridae
Mice are members of the genus, Mus, named by botanist and zoologist, Carl Linnaeus in 1758. The Mus domesticus, or House Mouse as it is more commonly known, could make an appearance in your house at any time of the year. Other common mice are the Apodemus flavicolli, (Yellow Necked Field Mouse) and Apodemus sylvaticus (Field Mouse). The latter is more of a pest in out buildings as they will feed on stored fruit and vegetables. The Yellow Necked Mouse is a fire hazard if it ventures into your home as they chew through electrical wires.
When comparing rats to mice, mice are substantially smaller. Wild mice are also smaller than pet mice due to their breeding and living conditions.
Origins of the mouse
Like the rat, the house mouse originated in Asia. Early domesticated mice were kept as house pets in royal places in China and Japan.
The male mouse is called a doe and a female, a buck. A group of mice is known as a mischief or a nest. It is easy to tell the gender of a mouse if you know what to look for.
Mice can live virtually anywhere – forests, grasslands, and of course, our houses. If you have a mouse in your house you are more likely to hear it at night as they are nocturnal creatures. Mice are territorial and like to have a substantial area that they can call their own. They don’t like humans or other animals so will try and stay out of sight.
There are many diseases that are carried and spread by mice. These include Salmonella (food poisoning), Rat-Bite Fever and Hantavirus. The one that is specifically carried by the House Mouse is Pox (Rickettsial). This particular disease is spread from the bite of a House Mouse mite. Other diseases are transmitted via their faeces, urine or a bite. As mice will go looking for food, it is likely that at some point, if there are mice in your house, they will go wandering around your kitchen.
In the wild a mouse will generally live for up to a year due to the conditions and potential predators. In the comfort of warm of your home they can survive for as long as three years.
The female mouse will give birth to between 3 and 14 young per litter. One female can have as many as 10 litters a year. As you can imagine if you do the math that is as many as 140 young a year. If you have a mouse in your house you need to get rid of it before you have many mice.
Interesting mouse facts
- Mice eat between 15-20 times a day and because of this prefer to build their homes near sources of food.
- They can squeeze through gaps as small as a coin. When looking for possible entry routes don’t discount anything. They can squeeze through tiny gaps around pipes.
- Mice can jump! In fact, they can jump a foot in the air as well as being excellent climbers and swimmers.
- Mice don’t have very good eyesight
- Their teeth never stop growing which is why they never stop on gnawing. Their teeth can grow 0.3mm per day.
What to do if you have a mouse or mice in your home
Mice are a species that you don’t want to share your home with. They can cause lots of damage with their constant gnawing and are a fire hazard if they chew through cables. They also spread disease through their faeces and urine and the mice mite and fleas that they can carry. If you suspect that you may have a mouse hiding in the wall cavities, the roof space, or any other dark and inviting place in your house, call in the pest control experts immediately.