Female mice can produce 8 to 13 pups every 45 days and can live out their lives in less than a year, but can survive longer if a food source is available. They are known to chew through walls made of wood and sheetrock, and tunnel through insulation to build their nests. Compared to rats, mice forage only short distances from their nest — usually not more than 10-25 feet. When food and shelter are adequate, their foraging range may be only a few feet. For this reason, traps and other control devices must be placed in areas where mouse activity is most apparent. There are several bacterial pathogens, including Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. that are frequently associated with diarrhea in rodents and may also cause disease in people.

The common house mouse is the most frequently observed species and is the ancestor of the white mice that are raised for scientific experimentation. In its wild state the house mouse is slightly less than 17 cm (less than 6.5 in) long including the tail, which is slightly more than 8 cm (more than 3 in) long; domestic mice, because of better nutrition, are often considerably larger. The house mouse is yellowish-gray above, sometimes streaked with black, and lighter gray beneath. It breeds every 10 to 17 weeks throughout the year, producing five to ten young in a litter.

Scientific classification: Mice belong to the families Muridae, Cricetidae, and Platacanthomyidae of the order Rodentia. The common house mouse is classified as Mus musculus, the deer mouse as Peromyscus maniculatus, and the cotton mouse as Peromyscus gossypinus. Grasshopper mice make up the genus Onychomys. The common wood mouse of Europe is classified as Apodemus sylvaticus. American harvest mice make up the genus Reithrodontomys. The harvest mouse of Europe is classified as Micromys minutus.

Mouse” Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2009
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