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Facts You Never Knew About Mice
A Credit to Nature
"Are you a Man or a Mouse?"
Umm, is that a trick question? Am I a man – implying I’m brave – or a mouse – implying I’m highly intelligent, fast, strong, flexible, vigilant, a great climber with exceptional sense of smell, hearing and touch? Umm…I’d rather say "mouse" to be honest…wouldn’t you?
Mice are highly developed creatures both physically and intellectually. Take humans, for example. Although we have different skin colours, different heights, different hair length and so on, we all function in the same way; we use our legs to walk with and our hands to pick things up with etc. But mice? Mice are something quite different. Yes, they’re smaller; yes, they live in holes; yes, they eat from the same paws they walk on. But there are more different species of mice on this planet than your brain could ever imagine, and every one of them has adapted to fit their specific needs depending on their environment.
So did you know…?
- There is nowhere on Earth mice don’t live.
- The Grasshopper Mouse can eat insects, other small mammals and even scorpions. Yuk!
- The smallest mouse in the world is the Pygmy Mouse, which is less than 4ins in length including its tail.
- North African Grass Mice are diurnal.
- African Climbing Mice are nocturnal, living off grains and insects.
- The common Door Mouse is known for its long hibernation periods.
- Striped Field Mice usually stay in fairly large groups.
- Australian Hopping Mice have large hind feet to help them take long leaps.
- Leaf-eared Mice, native to South America, have wide, thin ears to help them listen for predators.
- Meadow Jumping Mice are usually found in North American prairies.
- Mexican Volcano Mice have developed very dense fur and are able to live on very steep slopes.
- Marked or Broken Marked Mice have white fur with 7 – 8 large patches of colour on their bodies.
- Tans are called this because of their tanned underbelly.
- Seal Point Siamese Mice have identical markings to those of a Siamese Cat: medium beige body shading gradually down to dark brown at the tip of the tail, muzzle, ears and feet.
- Cinnamon Mice are related to the Agouti Mouse, which is often confused with wild mice! The Cinnamon Mouse has a rusty golden tan, ticked with brown, while the Agouti Mouse has rich brown/golden fur ticked with black. Wild mice are often brown tipped with black.
- The Chinchilla Mouse is indeed named after the Chinchilla, sporting a slate-blue undercoat with a pearl-grey overcoat tipped with black.
- A few coat varieties include Satin mice, Astrex mice, Long-haired mice, Rex mice, Lilac Self mice, Argent Satin mice, Black Self mice and Albino mice.
- Mice have scent glands all over their bodies which allow them to not only smell what gender the mouse was that last went by, but also the size of the mouse and when it went by! Pretty amazing, ay?
- Mice aren’t actually huge fans of cheese; that’s just an old folk’s tale!
- Mice only see primary colours (red, yellow and blue). Other than that, they are colour blind. A mouse’s strongest sense is their smell, followed by their hearing.
- Mice communicate in ultra-sonic vibrations, which can sometimes be heard by a human as a very high pitched squeak.
- Mice can fit through the smallest of holes, and even though an average mouse is about 50mm wide, the distance between the bars on a cage can be no further than 8-10mm, because they can – and probably will! – fit through anything wider.
- Mice are amazing climbers, their tail acting as a 5th leg. They use their tail not only for grip, but balance and feel too. Their fine claws also help them to climb up materials that don’t have much grip.
…So next time someone asks to you if you’re a “man or a mouse”, I’m sure you’ll begin to think twice about your answer…
By Daniella Wood
© 2009 by Daniella Wood. All rights reserved. Copying without permission is illegal and will be prosecuted.