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10 Neat Things: About Mice

1. No such thing as one mouse.

If you see one mouse in your house, you can be sure there are more. They multiply rapidly, producing 5 to 10 litters a year, with each of their 3 to 16 offspring becoming capable 6 weeks later of producing their own families. An individual mouse can live 4 years, though they tend to live only a couple of years unless they are pets.

2. The Asian mouse.

The common house mouse, Mus musculus, was imported here from southern Asia and it loves to raise its family in your warm snug home. It has large ears and small eyes and feet, is brown to dark grey with a lighter belly and weighs less than one ounce.

3. The North American mouse.

Native deer mice, Peromyscus maniculatus, will also invade buildings. They look quite similar, but their scaly tails are brown on the tip and white underneath. Deer mice are a couple of inches longer than the house kind. They are less likely to invade your house (though they will) and more likely to live in your shed or garage.

4. The killer mouse.

Disney made them look cute and lovable, but steer clear of those deer mice. They can carry the deadly hantavirus in the feces which, when breathed in by humans, can lead to respiratory failure with a 38 percent fatality rate. Hantavirus is mercifully uncommon in Canada, with 0 to 13 confirmed cases per year.

5. The skinny mouse.

Mice can squeeze through incredibly small openings – as tiny as the size of the eraser on a pencil. When closing up possible entry points to your home, be sure to plug the hole with something they can’t chew through. Exterminators suggest high quality steel wool, backed up by caulking.

6. The athletic mouse.

Mice are incredibly athletic. They can jump 12 inches off the ground straight up and over six feet down without injury. They can also swim. They can climb sheer rock or brick.

7. The sleepy mouse.

Mice sleep 12 hours a day, generally during daylight, so catching sight of them can be tricky. They don’t see very well but use their whiskers as a navigational aid. They have extremely keen hearing and communicate with each other in ultrasonic pitches, too high for us to hear.

8. The cat friendly mouse.

A study at the University of California has discovered that when mice are infected with a parasite that can only complete its life cycle in the gut of a cat, its brain is affected in a way that makes it lose its fear of cats. This way, from the parasite’s point of view, it can get back into the cat’s digestive system and reproduce. The mouse only has to come into contact with the feces of a cat to be infected. The parasite – Taxoplasma gondii – not only has long-term effects on their brain, it has been linked to mental illness in humans. It is estimated that 60 million Americans are infected with Taxoplasma gondii, which is linked to schizophrenia, bi-polar disease, OCD and even clumsiness!

9. The peeing mouse.

Mice leave pheromone trails in their urine for their friends and fellows to follow and to provide themselves with navigational tools. If you are an animal lover and trap live ones to remove to another jurisdiction, better make sure the location is far away. Even though in general, they don’t stray far from home (12 to 25 feet in search of food), mice have been tracked as returning to their homes from as far as 1.2 miles away.

10. The deterred mouse.

They are overwhelmed by some highly aromatic substances such as cloves, peppermint oil and mothballs. Apparently, they do not like walking on tinfoil so you can try covering countertops to keep them from those surfaces. They are not that stupid, though. They can sense danger and will avoid mousetraps that have been sprung. In one case, the mice carefully separated poison tablets from bait and neatly left the tablets in a muffin tin for the homeowner to discover.

– Dorothy Dobbie Copyright©
Pegasus Publications Inc.

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