The Average House Mouse; The Most Common Mammal On Earth
Posted on April 4, 2012
Native to central Asia, the mouse arrived in North America with the first European colonists. Mice can now be found all across North America, in every state including coastal Alaska, and in all but northernmost Canada.
It’s an excellent swimmer, runner, climber and jumper. It can jump as high as 12 inches. Mice have excellent senses of smell, taste and touch. While they have poor eyesight, mice have good peripheral vision that allows them to detect movement. Outdoors, mice nest in weeds, rubbish, cracks in rocks or walls, or they will construct a network of tunnels below ground, with chambers for nests and storage, and several exits.
While they will drink water when it’s available, mice can live in a dry habitat, getting all the water they need from the food they eat. In the wild, mice eat seeds, roots, leaves and stems, beetle larvae, caterpillars, cockroaches, and carrion, but they prefer seeds and grain. Although mice can live on crumbs, typically they eat 3 grams of food per day (10-15% of their body weight), or about 8 pounds per year. When human food is available, those foods high in fat, protein, or sugar are often eaten in preference to seeds and grain. Some of their favorite human foods include bacon, chocolate, butter and nuts. Mice are naturally curious, and do not hesitate to sample new foods. They will even eat glue or soap, if the soap contains animal fat.
Mice nibble on whatever food is available, eating small portions to find what they like best. In this manner, mice destroy much more food than they eat. In a year, one mouse will produce approximately 18,000 fecal droppings. They will store food, which can lead to insect infestations. Though it is not their preference, mice will live in freezers feeding only on frozen food. This usually occurs in large commercial operations that have walk-in coolers.