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Temporal range: Late Miocene – Recent
Apodemus sylvaticus bosmuis.jpg
House mouse, Mus musculus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Subfamily: Murinae
Genus: Mus
Linnaeus, 1758

A mouse (plural mice) is a small rodent, which is a kind of mammal. It has a pointed snout, small rounded ears, a body-length scaly tail and a high breeding rate. Most belong to the mus genus. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse (Mus musculus). Usually, house mice are brownish-gray. It is also a popular pet. In some places, certain kinds of field mice are also common. They are known to invade homes for food and occasionally shelter.

These small animals are often used in science experiments, or sometimes kept as pets.[1] Some mice carry diseases. In some places they damage crops. This causes some people to think of mice as vermin or pests.[2][3] Many other people think mice are cute and fun animals.

Mice are rodents, therefore they are related to squirrels, rats, and beavers. Mice eat weeds, seeds, berries, and more. They are eaten by owls, foxes, and cats, amongst others.

Types of mice[change | change source]

The word "mouse" should only be used for small murines, but does get used for other distantly-related small rodents. The murines are the largest subfamily of mammals. In fact, it is larger than almost all mammal orders.

House mouse[change | change source]

The common house mouse is thought of as a pest. They are found in the homes of humans.

Vole[change | change source]

Voles are not mice, they are in a different family of rodents.

Deer mouse[change | change source]

These are not mice either, or only distantly related. These mice live in forests. They can run and jump better than mice, and they get their common name from this.

The aggressive grasshopper mouse rarely eats other mice, but it does like grasshoppers and insects. It is also only a distant relative.

Mice in media[change | change source]

Anthropomorphism makes cartoon mice look and act more like people than like real mice. For example, the Disney characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse walk, talk, and act like people. Jerry, the mouse star of Tom and Jerry cartoons, is similarly humanized.

References[change | change source]

  2. Meerburg BG, Singleton GR, Leirs H (2009). "The Year of the Rat ends: time to fight hunger!". Pest Manag Sci. 65 (4): 351–2. doi:10.1002/ps.1718. PMID 19206089. Archived from the original on 2012-12-17. Retrieved 2013-10-28.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. Meerburg BG, Singleton GR, Kijlstra A (2009). "Rodent-borne diseases and their risks for public health". Crit Rev Microbiol. 35 (3): 221–70. doi:10.1080/10408410902989837. PMID 19548807.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)