Fun Facts About the Mouse

deer mouse
People can become infected with hantavirus by exposure to rodent droppings, particularly those of the deer mouse.
Credit: Steven Russell Smith Photos | ShutterStock

The common house mouse may be a familiar animal but there are more than 30 known species of the rodents. The small mammals have a pointed nose, a round furry body and a long, near-hairless tail.  They have very large ears and keen hearing. The house mouse is also a popular pet.

Mice can range in color from bright white to a mix of browns and grays. They typically range between 1 to 7 inches (2.54 to 18 cm) in length depending on their species. They are found in nearly every country and type of terrain. There are many varieties of mice including the domestic mouse, fancy mice, spiny mice and zebra mice.

Mice are nocturnal herbivores that primarily eat fruit or grain. Due to their small size, they are an easy target for predators like birds, cats, wild dogs and even foxes. Mice and rats are commonly used for laboratory testing.

Other facts about mice

A white mouse used in science research
A white laboratory mouse.
Credit: Floris Slooff, Shutterstock

The smallest mouse species is the African Pygmy mouse. Adults are between 1.2 - 3.1 inches (30 and 80 mm).

Most mice have tails that are as long as their bodies.

Mice use their whiskers to sense temperature changes, and help detect surfaces they are walking on.

While communicating with each other, mice make ultrasonic as well as regular sounds.

Mice have to build their homes near sources of food because they like to eat 15 to 20 times per day.

Female mice can give birth when they are two months old. A female house mouse can give birth to up to a dozen babies every three weeks.

Mice are sometimes regarded as pests because they can damage crops and spread harmful diseases.

Most mice can jump nearly 18 inches (46 cm) in the air. They are also excellent climbers and swim with great efficiency.

Other resources:

Humane Society of the United States - Mouse

BBC Nature - Mouse

BBC Nature - House Mouse

ASPCA - Mouse

More from LiveScience