Mouse

Mouse

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Mouse'
Start a new discussion about 'Mouse'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
A mouse is a small mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

 belonging to the order of rodent
Rodent
Rodentia is an order of mammals also known as rodents, characterised by two continuously growing incisors in the upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing....

s. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse
House mouse
The house mouse is a small rodent, a mouse, one of the most numerous species of the genus Mus.As a wild animal the house mouse mainly lives associated with humans, causing damage to crops and stored food....

 (Mus musculus). It is also a popular pet
Pet
A pet is a household animal kept for companionship and a person's enjoyment, as opposed to wild animals or to livestock, laboratory animals, working animals or sport animals, which are kept for economic or productive reasons. The most popular pets are noted for their loyal or playful...

. In some places, certain kinds of field mice
Apodemus
Apodemus is the genus of Muridae which contains the Eurasian field mice. Related to the Ryūkyū spiny rats and the prehistoric Rhagamys – and far more distantly to Mus and Malacomys –, it includes the following species:*Striped Field Mouse, Apodemus agrarius*Alpine Field Mouse, Apodemus...

 are also common. This rodent is eaten by large birds such as hawks and eagles. They are known to invade homes for food and occasionally shelter.

The American White-footed Mouse
White-footed mouse
White-footed Mouse is a rodent native to North America. It ranges from Ontario, Quebec, Labrador and the Maritime Provinces to the southwest USA and Mexico. It is also known as the Woodmouse, particularly in Texas.Adults are in length, not counting the tail, which can add another . A young adult...

 (Peromyscus leucopus) and the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus
Peromyscus maniculatus
Peromyscus maniculatus is a rodent native to North America. It is most commonly called the Deer Mouse, although that name is common to most species of Peromyscus and is fairly widespread across the continent, with the major exception being the southeast United States and the far north.Like other...

), as well as other common species of mouse-like rodents around the world, also sometimes live in houses. These, however, are in other genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

.

Cat
Cat
The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felids and felines, is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests...

s, wild dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

s, fox
Fox
Fox is a common name for many species of omnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family. Foxes are small to medium-sized canids , characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail .Members of about 37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually belong to...

es, birds of prey
Bird of prey
Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh....

, snake
Snake
Snakes are elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears. Like all squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales...

s and even certain kinds of arthropod
Arthropod
An arthropod is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton , a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Arthropods are members of the phylum Arthropoda , and include the insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and others...

s have been known to prey heavily upon mice. Nevertheless, because of its remarkable adaptability to almost any environment
Ecological niche
In ecology, a niche is a term describing the relational position of a species or population in its ecosystem to each other; e.g. a dolphin could potentially be in another ecological niche from one that travels in a different pod if the members of these pods utilize significantly different food...

, the mouse is one of the most successful mammalian genera living on Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 today.

Mice can at times be harmful rodent
Rodent
Rodentia is an order of mammals also known as rodents, characterised by two continuously growing incisors in the upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing....

s, damaging and eating crops
Crop (agriculture)
A crop is a non-animal species or variety that is grown to be harvested as food, livestock fodder, fuel or for any other economic purpose. Major world crops include maize , wheat, rice, soybeans, hay, potatoes and cotton. While the term "crop" most commonly refers to plants, it can also include...

, causing structural damage and spreading disease
Disease
A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...

s through their parasites and feces
Feces
Feces, faeces, or fæces is a waste product from an animal's digestive tract expelled through the anus or cloaca during defecation.-Etymology:...

. In North America, breathing dust that has come in contact with mouse excrement has been linked to hantavirus
Hantavirus
Hantaviruses are negative sense RNA viruses in the Bunyaviridae family. Humans may be infected with hantaviruses through rodent bites, urine, saliva or contact with rodent waste products...

, which may lead to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS).

Primarily nocturnal animals, mice compensate for their poor eyesight with a keen sense of hearing, and rely especially on their sense of smell to locate food and avoid predators.

Mice and rats are the most commonly used animals for laboratory tests.

Reproduction



Breeding onset is at about 50 days of age in both females and males, although females may have their first estrus at 25–40 days. Mice are polyestrous and breed year round; ovulation is spontaneous. The duration of the estrous cycle
Estrous cycle
The estrous cycle comprises the recurring physiologic changes that are induced by reproductive hormones in most mammalian placental females. Estrous cycles start after puberty in sexually mature females and are interrupted by anestrous phases or pregnancies...

 is 4–5 days and estrus itself lasts about 12 hours, occurring in the evening. Vaginal smears are useful in timed matings to determine the stage of the estrous cycle. Mating is usually nocturnal and may be confirmed by the presence of a copulatory plug in the vagina up to 24 hours post-copulation. The presence of sperm on a vaginal smear is also a reliable indicator of mating.

Female mice housed together tend to go into anestrus and do not cycle. If exposed to a male mouse or the pheromones of a male mouse, most of the females will go into estrus in about 72 hours. This synchronization of the estrous cycle is known as the Whitten effect
Whitten effect
The Whitten effect is a phenomenon observed by Wesley K. Whitten , whereby male mouse pheromone-laden urine synchronizes the estrus cycle "among unisexually grouped females."...

. The exposure of a recently bred mouse to the pheromones of a strange male mouse may prevent implantation (or pseudopregnancy), a phenomenon known as the Bruce effect
Bruce effect
The Bruce effect, or pregnancy block, refers to the tendency for female rodents to terminate their pregnancies following exposure to the scent of an unfamiliar male. The effect has primarily been studied in laboratory mice , but is also observed in deer-mice, meadow voles, and collared lemmings...

.

The average gestation period is 20 days. A fertile postpartum estrus occurs 14–24 hours following parturition, and simultaneous lactation and gestation prolongs gestation 3–10 days owing to delayed implantation. The average litter
Litter (animal)
A litter is the offspring at one birth of animals from the same mother and usually from one set of parents. The word is most often used for the offspring of mammals, but can be used for any animal that gives birth to multiple young. In comparison, a group of eggs and the offspring that hatch from...

 size is 10–12 during optimum production, but is highly strain-dependent. As a general rule, inbred mice tend to have longer gestation periods and smaller litters than outbred and hybrid mice. The young are called pups and weigh 0.5 gram at birth, are hairless, and have closed eyelids and ears. Cannibalism is uncommon, but females should not be disturbed during parturition and for at least 2 days postpartum. Pups are weaned at 3 weeks of age; weaning weight is 10 gram. If the postpartum estrus is not utilized, the female resumes cycling 2–5 days post-weaning.

Newborn male mice are distinguished from newborn females by noting the greater anogenital distance
Anogenital distance
Anogenital distance is the distance from the anus to the genitalia, the base of the penis or vagina. It is considered medically significant for a number of reasons, in both humans and animals. It is regulated by dihydrotestosterone, which can be disrupted by phthalates common in plastics...

 and larger genital papilla in the male. This is best accomplished by lifting the tails of littermates and comparing perineum
Perineum
In human anatomy, the perineum is a region of the body including the perineal body and surrounding structures...

s.

Laboratory mice



Mice are common experiment
Experiment
An experiment is a methodical procedure carried out with the goal of verifying, falsifying, or establishing the validity of a hypothesis. Experiments vary greatly in their goal and scale, but always rely on repeatable procedure and logical analysis of the results...

al animals in biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 and psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 primarily because they are mammals, and also because they share a high degree of homology
Homology (biology)
Homology forms the basis of organization for comparative biology. In 1843, Richard Owen defined homology as "the same organ in different animals under every variety of form and function". Organs as different as a bat's wing, a seal's flipper, a cat's paw and a human hand have a common underlying...

 with humans. They are the most commonly used mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

ian model organism
Model organism
A model organism is a non-human species that is extensively studied to understand particular biological phenomena, with the expectation that discoveries made in the organism model will provide insight into the workings of other organisms. Model organisms are in vivo models and are widely used to...

, more common than rats
RATS
RATS may refer to:* RATS , Regression Analysis of Time Series, a statistical package* Rough Auditing Tool for Security, a computer program...

. The mouse genome
Genome
In modern molecular biology and genetics, the genome is the entirety of an organism's hereditary information. It is encoded either in DNA or, for many types of virus, in RNA. The genome includes both the genes and the non-coding sequences of the DNA/RNA....

 has been sequenced, and virtually all mouse gene
Gene
A gene is a molecular unit of heredity of a living organism. It is a name given to some stretches of DNA and RNA that code for a type of protein or for an RNA chain that has a function in the organism. Living beings depend on genes, as they specify all proteins and functional RNA chains...

s have human homologs. They can also be manipulated in ways that would be considered unethical to do with humans (note Animal Rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

). A knockout mouse
Knockout mouse
A knockout mouse is a genetically engineered mouse in which researchers have inactivated, or "knocked out," an existing gene by replacing it or disrupting it with an artificial piece of DNA...

is a genetically engineered
Genetic engineering
Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct human manipulation of an organism's genome using modern DNA technology. It involves the introduction of foreign DNA or synthetic genes into the organism of interest...

 mouse that has had one or more of its genes made inoperable through a gene knockout
Gene knockout
A gene knockout is a genetic technique in which one of an organism's genes is made inoperative . Also known as knockout organisms or simply knockouts, they are used in learning about a gene that has been sequenced, but which has an unknown or incompletely known function...

.

There are other reasons why mice are used in laboratory research. Mice are small, inexpensive, easily maintained, and can reproduce quickly. Several generation
Generation
Generation , also known as procreation in biological sciences, is the act of producing offspring....

s of mice can be observed in a relatively short period of time. Mice are generally very docile if raised from birth and given sufficient human contact. However, certain strains have been known to be quite temperamental. Mice and rats have the same organs in the same places, just different proportions.

Subgenera


All members of the Mus genus are referred to as mice. However, the term mouse can also be applied to species outside of this genus. Mouse often refers to any small muroid rodent, while rat
Rat
Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. "True rats" are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus...

refers to larger muroid rodents. Therefore these terms are not taxonomically
Taxonomy
Taxonomy is the science of identifying and naming species, and arranging them into a classification. The field of taxonomy, sometimes referred to as "biological taxonomy", revolves around the description and use of taxonomic units, known as taxa...

 specific. For simplicity, only the rodent subgenera
Subgenus
In biology, a subgenus is a taxonomic rank directly below genus.In zoology, a subgeneric name can be used independently or included in a species name, in parentheses, placed between the generic name and the specific epithet: e.g. the Tiger Cowry of the Indo-Pacific, Cypraea tigris Linnaeus, which...

 belonging to the Mus genus are listed here.

Genus Mus - Typical mice
  • Subgenus Coelomys
    Coelomys
    Coelomys is an East Asian subgenus of Mus.-Distribution and habitat:The four species in the subgenus Coelomys are restricted to tropical evergreen lowland and mountain forests of Sri Lanka, southern India, mainland Southeast Asia, Sumatra, and Java...

    (East Asia
    East Asia
    East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

    )
  • Subgenus Mus
    Mus (subgenus)
    Mus is a subgenus of the rodent genus Mus.-Species:*Little Indian Field Mouse, Mus booduga...

    (Eurasia
    Eurasia
    Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

     to North Africa
    North Africa
    North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

    , except for the House mouse
    House mouse
    The house mouse is a small rodent, a mouse, one of the most numerous species of the genus Mus.As a wild animal the house mouse mainly lives associated with humans, causing damage to crops and stored food....

     which is worldwide.)
  • Subgenus Nannomys
    Nannomys
    Nannomys is a sub-Saharan Africa subgenus of Mus.-Species:*Baoule's Mouse, Mus baoulei *Toad Mouse, Mus bufo...

    (Sub-Saharan Africa
    Sub-Saharan Africa
    Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

    )
  • Subgenus Pyromys
    Pyromys
    -Species:*Ceylon Spiny Mouse, Mus fernandoni *Phillips's Mouse, Mus phillipsi *Flat-Haired Mouse, Mus platythrix *Rock-loving Mouse, Mus saxicola...

    (East Asia
    East Asia
    East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

    )
  • Subgenus and species Mus lepidoides

As pets


Many people buy mice as companion pets. They can be playful, loving and can grow used to being handled. Like pet rats, pet mice should not be left unsupervised outside as they have many natural predators, including (but not limited to) birds, lizards, cats, and dogs. Male mice tend to have a stronger odor than the females. However, mice are careful groomers and as pets they never need bathing. Well looked after mice can make ideal pets. Some common mouse care products are:
  • Cage – Usually a hamster
    Hamster
    Hamsters are rodents belonging to the subfamily Cricetinae. The subfamily contains about 25 species, classified in six or seven genera....

     or gerbil
    Gerbil
    A gerbil is a small mammal of the order Rodentia. Once known simply as "desert rats", the gerbil subfamily includes about 110 species of African, Indian, and Asian rodents, including sand rats and jirds, all of which are adapted to arid habitats...

     cage
    Cage (enclosure)
    A cage is an enclosure made of mesh, bars or wires, used to confine, contain or protect something or someone. A cage can serve many purposes, including keeping an animal in captivity, capturing, and being used for display of an animal at a zoo.-History:...

    , but special mouse cages are now available.
  • Food – Special pelleted and seed-based food is available. Mice can generally eat most rodent food (for rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, etc.)
  • Bedding – Usually made of hardwood pulp, such as aspen
    Aspen
    Populus section Populus, of the Populus genus, includes the aspen trees and the white poplar Populus alba. The five typical aspens are all native to cold regions with cool summers, in the north of the Northern Hemisphere, extending south at high altitudes in the mountains. The White Poplar, by...

    , sometimes from shredded, unink
    Ink
    Ink is a liquid or paste that contains pigments and/or dyes and is used to color a surface to produce an image, text, or design. Ink is used for drawing and/or writing with a pen, brush, or quill...

    ed paper
    Paper
    Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

     or recycled virgin wood pulp
    Wood pulp
    Pulp is a lignocellulosic fibrous material prepared by chemically or mechanically separating cellulose fibres from wood, fibre crops or waste paper. Wood pulp is the most common raw material in papermaking.-History:...

    . Using corn husk bedding is avoided because it promotes Aspergillis fungus
    Fungus
    A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds , as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria...

    , and can grow mold
    Mold
    Molds are fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. Molds are not considered to be microbes but microscopic fungi that grow as single cells called yeasts...

     once it gets wet, which is rough on their feet.

Nutrition


In nature, mice are herbivore
Herbivore
Herbivores are organisms that are anatomically and physiologically adapted to eat plant-based foods. Herbivory is a form of consumption in which an organism principally eats autotrophs such as plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria. More generally, organisms that feed on autotrophs in...

s, consuming any kind of fruit or grain from plants. Consequently, mice adapt well to urban areas and are known for eating almost all types of food scraps. In captivity, mice are commonly fed commercial pelleted mouse diet. These diets are nutritionally complete, but they still need a large variety of vegetables. Food intake is approximately 15 g (0.529109431576679 oz) per 100 g (3.5 oz) of body weight per day; water intake is approximately 15 ml (1.350013500135E-09 imp fl oz) per 100 g of body weight per day.

As food



Mice are a staple in the diet of many small carnivores. Humans have eaten mice since prehistoric times and still eat them as a delicacy throughout eastern Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

 and northern Malawi
Malawi
The Republic of Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. Its size...

,, where they are a seasonal source of protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

. Mice are no longer routinely consumed by humans elsewhere.

In various countries mice are used as food for pets such as snakes, lizards, frogs, tarantulas and birds of prey
Bird of prey
Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh....

, and many pet stores carry mice for this purpose. Some countries, such as Germany and the United Kingdom, have banned the practice of feeding live mice, citing ethical concerns regarding both predator and prey.

Common terms used to refer to different ages/sizes of mice when sold for pet food are "pinkies", "fuzzies", "crawlers", "hoppers", and "adults". Pinkies are newborn mice that have not yet grown fur; fuzzies have some fur but are not very mobile; hoppers have a full coat of hair and are fully mobile but are smaller than adult mice. Mice without fur are easier for the animal to consume, however mice with fur may be more convincing as animal feed. These terms are also used to refer to the various growth stages of rat
Rat
Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. "True rats" are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus...

s (see Fancy rat
Fancy rat
The fancy rat is a domesticated brown rat , which is the most common type of pet rat. The name fancy rat derives from the idea of animal fancy or the phrase "to fancy" ....

).

Use for sense of smell


Israeli scientists have tested mice as a new airport security detectors. It consists of three concealed cartridges each containing eight specially trained mice. If they senses traces of explosives or drugs, they will trigger the alarm. According to the New Scientist the mice work four-hour shifts and are more accurate than using dogs or x-ray machines.

See also



  • Genetically modified mouse
    Genetically modified mouse
    A genetically modified mouse is a mouse that has had its genome altered through the use of genetic engineering techniques. Genetically modified mice are commonly used for research or as animal models of human diseases.-History:...

  • House mouse
    House mouse
    The house mouse is a small rodent, a mouse, one of the most numerous species of the genus Mus.As a wild animal the house mouse mainly lives associated with humans, causing damage to crops and stored food....

  • List of fictional mice and rats
  • Mouse trap
    Mousetrap
    A mousetrap is a specialized type of animal trap designed primarily to catch mice; however, it may also trap other small animals. Mousetraps are usually set in an indoor location where there is a suspected infestation of rodents. There are various types of mousetrap, each with its own advantages...

  • Mouse (computing)
    Mouse (computing)
    In computing, a mouse is a pointing device that functions by detecting two-dimensional motion relative to its supporting surface. Physically, a mouse consists of an object held under one of the user's hands, with one or more buttons...

  • Musophobia
    Fear of mice
    Fear of mice and rats is one of the most common specific phobias. It is sometimes referred to as musophobia or murophobia , or as suriphobia, from the French souris, meaning mouse. Dr...

     (fear of mice)
  • Rat
    Rat
    Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. "True rats" are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus...

  • Vacanti mouse
    Vacanti mouse
    The Vacanti mouse was a laboratory mouse that had what looked like a human ear grown on its back. The "ear" was actually an ear-shaped cartilage structure grown by seeding human cartilage cells into a biodegradable ear-shaped mold.-The earmouse:...

  • Mouse brain development timeline
    Mouse brain development timeline
    Species: Mus musculusFamily: Muridae Order: RodentiaGestation: 21 days Day Event Reference 9 cranial motor nuclei - peak of neurogenesis Finlay and Darlington 10 subplate -start of neurogenesis...


External links