House mouse

 This image is in the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the National Institutes of Health 

4 legs, gray, tail, fuzzy

The house mouse is the most commonly encountered and economically important of the commensal rodents, the Norway and roof/black rat being the other two. House mice are not only a nuisance, damage/destroy materials by gnawing, and eat and contaminate stored food, they are also of human health importance as disease carriers or vectors. It is thought to be of Central Asian origin, but is now of worldwide distribution and found throughout the United States.

Adult with head and body length 2.5-3.5” (6.5-9 cm), tail length 2 ¾-4’ (7-10.2 cm), weight about ½-1 oz (12-30 g). Fur smooth, color usually dusty gray above and light gray or cream in belly. 

Mice are very social. Related males and females are compatible, but unrelated male mice are typically very aggressive toward one another. Social hierarchies with one male dominating lower-ranking males result in the maintenance of territories, which may include a large number of females as well as lower-ranking males, most of which will be related. All mature mice tend to show aggression towards strangers of either sex that enter their territory, which is marked with urine. Territory size varies but it is usually relatively small. If food and shelter are plentiful, they may not travel more that 4-5 feet (1.2-1.5m) from their nests.

 

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