House Mouse (Mus musculus)


Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family:    Muridae
Size:    Length: 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10 cm)   Tail length: 2.4 to 3.9 inches (6 to 10 cm)
Weight: Up to 1 ounce (28 g)
Diet: Grains, cereal, soap, wax, seeds and berries
Distribution: Worldwide, except for the Arctic and Antarctic
Young:  3 to 16 young, up to 10 times per year
Animal Predators:  Hawks, owls, raccoons, snakes, opossums, skunks, weasels, foxes, domestic cats and dogs
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Male: Buck  Female: Doe  Young: Pinkie  Group: Mischief
Lifespan: 1 to 2 years in the wild and up to 6 years in captivity



·        White mice bred for pets and laboratory use are albinos of this species.

·        Mice in colder climates have longer tails than mice in warm areas.

·        The more you clean a mouse cage, the more a mouse will give off its own scent.

·        When all the people of the Scottish island St. Kilda moved away in 1930, the house mouse population died out.

·        The scientific name is derived from the Sanskrit word “musha” which means “thief.”



House mice have big dark eyes and rounded ears. Their tail is long and scaly and their fur is a grey-brown. Their front paws are hairless and they have tiny claws. Their hind legs are also hairless, as is their tail. Their nose is pink.  



These mice originated in Asia, spreading eventually to Europe and then arriving in North America on ships and in the luggage of settlers. They live in burrows in fields until the crops are harvested, then move indoors, especially in areas where the climate gets cool in winter. Their burrows consist of complex tunnel networks. Mice can be found in nearly every area of the world, with the exception of the Arctic and Antarctica, plus a few scattered jungle regions. House mice live in colonies, marking their territory with urine. 


Feeding Habits

House mice eat just about anything, including human foodstuffs, wax, and even soap. Their favourite food is grain, and often the first sign of a mouse infestation is finding evidence of mice having chewed through cereal boxes. In the wild, they also eat seeds and berries, but mice prefer to live indoors year round. 



Mating occurs throughout the year, especially if the mice are in a warm climate or if they find an indoor dwelling for the winter season. One mouse can give birth to up to 10 litters per year, producing three to 16 offspring each time, or 30 to 160 offspring per year. After a gestation period of 18 to 21 days, the young are born blind and furless, in a nest made of rags, paper, and other shredded materials. They mature quickly, and at 18 days are fully furred and able to forage for food on their own. Between six to 12 weeks they are fully grown and can begin breeding.



Mice can get through holes less than a half-inch (1.27 cm) across and are also able to run up walls. They move rapidly and often show little fear of humans. They often carry organisms that produce disease, such as typhus and plague, and may even pass on parasites. Therefore, mice should be eliminated from human dwellings as soon as possible after detection. When put in a cage together, females show no territorial instincts and will accept another mouse, male or female. Males will usually fight when put together, unless they are from the same litter.  



Their high rate of reproduction is one of the keys to the house mouse’s success as a species. 



House Mouse Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US