musculus is the House Mouse. This mouse is believed to be
the second most populous mammalian species on Earth, after Homo
sapiens. They are light brown to black, with short hair
and a light belly. The ears and tail have little hair. Adults
weigh some 12 to 40 grams; their body (including tail) is about
15-19 centimeters long, with the tail usually accounting for
a bit more than half of it.
live in a wide variety of hidden places that are near food sources
and construct nests from various soft materials. Mice are territorial
and one dominant male usually lives together with several females
and young. If two or more males are held together in a cage,
they will often turn aggressive unless they have been raised
together from birth.
Mice primarily feed
on plant matter, but they will also accept meat and dairy products.
They will drink water but require little of it, relying mainly
on the moisture present in their food. They will eat their feces
to acquire nutrients produced by bacteria in their guts.
gestation period is about 19-21 days, and they give birth to
a litter of 3-14 young (average 6-8). One female can have some
5-10 litters per year, so their population can increase very
quickly. Breeding occurs throughout the year (however, animals
living in the wild don't reproduce in the colder months, even
though they don't hibernate). The newborn are blind and furless.
Fur starts to grow some three days after birth and the eyes
open one to two weeks after birth. Females reach sexual maturity
at about 6 weeks and males at about 8 weeks, but both can breed
as early as 35 days.
Mice are spread over
the world's continents and islands (except Antarctica)
through its close association with humans (see details: Mammals
Species of the World, Vol 2, 2005, p1398).