Facts About Mice – Physical Characteristics and Behavior

Mice and rats belong to the same family – Muridae. However, mice belong to the genus Mus whereas rats belong to the genus Rattus.

Though they are related, mice and rats cannot interbreed. In addition to chromosomal anomalies, mice are smaller and rats are larger.

Mice originated in Asia, they spread throughout Europe centuries ago.

The word ‘mouse’ comes from an ancient word of Sanskrit ‘mus’, meaning ‘thief’.

Mice are usually brown, gray, black, or white in color. And their belly is usually light in color compared to their backs.

The different mouse species range in color and size that is generally dependent on their environment.

Mice have small hair on their body, called fur. They have little or no hair on their tail and ears.

Mice usually eat 15 – 20 times per day, therefore they like to build their homes near their sources of food.

Mice are good swimmers, climbers and jumpers. However, their fore legs are longer than their hind legs.

Mice have four toes on their two front feet and five toes on their two back feet which gives them more stability when standing on their back feet.

Facts About Mice – Physical Characteristics and Behavior

Mice can squeeze through a 6mm gap.

Mice have very sharp hearing and a sharp sense of smell. They can hear both in the ultrasonic range as well as in the human range. Rats also make ultrasonic and regular sounds while comunicating with each other.

Mice see best in dim light. Their eyesight is weak.

Mice cannot see color. These nocturnal creatures also do not like broad daylight.

Facts About Mice – Physical Characteristics and Behavior

Like other rodents, mice have strong teeth that never stop growing. Their teeth can grow up to 13 cm a year.

Mice can chew through anything softer than their teeth.

Although many people believe that mice love cheese but they tend to prefer any food that is higher in carbohydrates. They may be more attracted to chocolate than cheese.

The tail of a mouse is about as long as its body.

Mice whiskers are used to sense rough and smooth surfaces, temperature changes and breezes.

Female mice can produce babies 6 – 10 times per year.

Facts About Mice – Physical Characteristics and Behavior

Not only blind at birth, the newborn mouse kittens also do not have fur on their body.

Mice will nurse babies that are not their own.

The female mouse is called ‘doe’ while the male one is called as ‘buck’. Their offspring are called as kitten or pups.

Like other rodents, house mice do not vomit.

Mice can transmit salmonellosis (bacterial food poisoning) if your food is contaminated with their infected feces.

Mice also transmit rickettsial pox, leptospirosis, tularemia, ratbite fever, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, dermatitis, and hantavirus.