Mouse

MouseMouse — A mouse (plural mice) is a small mammal that belongs to one of numerous species of rodents. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse (Mus musculus). It is found in nearly all countries and, as the laboratory mouse, serves as an important model organism in biology, and is also a popular pet. The American white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) and the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) also sometimes live in houses. These species of mice live commensally with humans.

Although they may live up to two years in the lab, the average mouse in the wild lives only about 5 months, primarily due to heavy predation. Cats, wild dogs, foxes, birds of prey, snakes and even certain kinds of insects have been known to prey heavily upon mice. Nevertheless, due to its remarkable adaptability to almost any environment, and its ability to live commensally with humans, the mouse is regarded to be the third most successful mammalian species living on Earth today, after humans and the rat.

Mice can be harmful pests, damaging and eating crops and spreading diseases through their parasites and feces. In western North America, breathing dust that has come in contact with mouse feces has been linked to the deadly hantavirus. The original motivation for the domestication of cats is thought to have been for their predation of mice and their relatives, the rats.

Mice are small rodents, resembling diminutive rats. They usually have pointed snouts and small ears. The body is typically elongated with slender, usually hairless tails, but different types of mice show large variations. Body dimensions vary considerably by species, though some approximate values are available: total length 28-130 mm, mass 2.5 to >34g.

Mice will eat meat, the dead bodies of other mice, and have been observed to self-cannibalise their tails during starvation. Grasshopper mice are an exception to the rule, being the only fully carnivorous mice. Mice eat grains, fruits, and seeds for a regular diet, which is the main reason they damage crops. They are also known to eat their own feces. Mice are often portrayed to enjoy cheese and people sometimes use it as mousetrap bait, though mice actually do not like cheese due to its fatty texture. Instead, they like food that contains high sugar, although chocolate is toxic to them.

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