House Mouse

 

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Range: Worldwide distribution

Habitat:  Prefers human habitations or farming/agricultural areas.  This species is rarely found from either human habitation, feed/grain stores or other structures used by people on a daily basis. 

Natural Diet: Seeds, grains, insects

Diet at Rain Forest: Rodent diet as well as a myriad of treats!

Size: Body 1-2" with tail nearly equal to body length

RainForest Facts: The common house mouse is one of the most widely distributed mammals on earth. 

When living in the wild, the house mice generally seeks out cracks in rocks or other natural formations in an effort to construct underground tunnels and cavities  that eventually can become an elaborate complex of chambers.  The various rooms (or chambers) are used by the rodents for nesting and storage.  Mice are actually quite clean creatures and may actually use one of the chambers as a bathroom!  Additionally the complex will contain several escape tunnels and multiple exits to allow the animals to escape predators.

When living with people the common house mouse will construct nests in walls, under appliances, in storage areas or any other suitable dry area that offers close approximation to a food source.  Once a suitable nesting site is found the rodents immediately begin to construct nests from paper, thin plastic, as in discarded shopping bags, or other soft substances and line them with finer shredded material.

House mice are generally nocturnal, although some are active during the day in human dwellings. House mice are quick runners (up to 8 miles per hour), good climbers, jumpers, and also swim well. Despite this, they rarely travel more than 50 feet from their established homes.

Mus musculus is generally considered both territorial and colonial when living commensally with humans. Territoriality is not as pronounced in wild conditions, however. Dominant males set up a territory including a family group of several females and their young. Occasionally, subordinate males may occupy a territory or males may share territories. Females establish a loose hierarchy within the territories, but they are far less aggressive than males. Aggression within family groups is rare, but all the individuals in a territory will defend an area against outsiders. Young mice are generally made to disperse through adult aggression, although some (especially females) may remain in the vicinity of their parents.

The mice at RainForest Adventures are displayed in a "Kitchen Cupboard" to show visitors the relative size of the mouse compared to the rat. 

 

Status in Wild: Way to common!  In a well balanced ecosystem this animal is a very important source of food for many predators.