STATUS:Exotic. Breeder. A commensal rodent brought to the United States by early European colonists. Not nearly as dependent on food, water, and harborage provided by humans as black and Norway rats; often found in habitats associated with native rodents fairly distant from human habitation.Often targeted for eradication because of potential economic damage and health concerns.
DESCRIPTION: The house mouse is a small grayish to brown four legged mammal about 4.9 to 7.8 inches long and weighs about 0.35 to 1.1 oz. They have a black back with a white to buffy colored belly. House mice have large hairless ears and long naked brownish tails with a black tip. Their eyes are small and feet are drab with white toes.
DISTRIBUTION: House mice originated in Asia and arrived in America on ships from Spanish Explorers. Today the house mouse is found throughout Alabama and the US.
HABITAT: House mice are most often associated with humans in a variety of habitat type such as homes, warehouses, restaurants, factories, barns, and granaries. They are also found in agricultural fields, fencerows, and sometimes even in wooded areas.
FEEDING HABITS: The house mouse is primarily a nocturnal animal but can be seen during daylight hours. It feeds on a variety of foods including but not limited to food consumed by humans, grains, seeds, green stems, leaves, insects and other plant and animal matter.
LIFE HISTORY AND ECOLOGY: House mice are prolific breeders. It may have up to 14 litters in one year, each containing three to 10 young with an average of about six. Young are pink in color, hairless and blind when first born. Gestation period is about 18-20 days. Young are born in a nest made of soft material under floors, in walls, or under trash piles, stones and logs and are weaned in about three weeks. Females may begin breeding at about four weeks of age, but most in about six to eight weeks.
House mice have learned to adapt to human presence and live among us very well. They can be a destructive pest if not keep in check. They can chew or gnaw holes in walls, floors, paper products, wires, baseboards, pipes and furniture. Also, they are thieving throughout the United States. In areas that they thieve in, house mice will leave large amount of dropping which can be dangerous to humans.
Sealander, John A and Gary A. Heidt. 1990. Arkansas Mammals. The University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville London.184 pp.
Author: Phil Miller, Wildlife Biologist, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries