Mice

Mice are probably the smallest member of the rodent order. Mice are funny and entertaining to observe. Mice are natures 'busy-bodies' and they scuttle around being very inquisitive. Mice make brilliant pets, they do not need much space and are very inexpensive to keep. A mouse will sit in your hand and generally explore its surroundings.

Mice are related to rats and are a member of the 'Muridae Family'. Mice can grow to be between 15 - 20 centimetres long, including their tail and weigh between 30 - 60 grams.

Mice are very nimble animals and can run very fast. It has been known for a mouse to reach a speed of 7.5 miles per hour (12 kilometres per hour). Mice have a life expectancy of about 2 - 3 years.

Mice come in lots of different colours, not just white and brown and grey, but over 50 different varieties of colours and shades.

A baby mouse is called a 'pinky', a male is called a 'buck' and a female is called a 'doe'.

Female mice can start producing babies (pinkys) at around 6 - 8 weeks old. Mice generally produce litters that contain 5 - 10 babies (see photo left - they are pinkys at one day old). Unless you want to be over-run with cute little mice, you have to keep males and females separate, as you also would with guinea pigs, rabbits and hamsters. Mice are not keen to jump off vertical drops, so you could safely play with your mouse on a table top, carefully supervised of course. Mice like to play and offering them small animal toys will delight them.

Mice generally live on a herbivore diet, but are actually omnivores. Mice will eat meat, the dead bodies of other mice and have been observed to self-cannibalise their tails during starvation. Grasshopper mice are an exception to the rule, being the only fully carnivorous mice. Mice eat grains and fruits for a regular diet, which is the main reason wild mice damage crops.

Unlike guinea pigs who are unable to make their own vitamin C, mice have the ability to do just that so they do not need a vitamon C supplement as guniea pigs do. A wild mouses habitat is usually in a field, a nest, or in a burrow in the ground. Mice can also be found in our homes and in other buildings. If you spot a mouse running around you home, do not be alarmed. The scenario is usually a female screaming and jumping onto the nearest chair. The truth be known that the poor mouse is more frightened of you than you are of it.

A hole in the skirting board is probably a good indication that you have a mouse in the house. As long as there are no wires nearby for them to nibble on, do not panic about your tiny resident, instead, leave some dried bread near the hole for it to feed upon. It will not be there for long. The mouse probably needed some shelter if it is winter and a warm place to sleep, therefore, place some small animal bedding or toilet tissue nearby and the mouse will no doubt gather it up and take it to its lodgings.