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Do Mice Eat Cheese?
What images pop into your head when you hear the word 'mouse'? Is it bloody fearful with the image of you jumping onto to a chair, broom in hand, screaming for your life? The lovable Mickey? Maybe a mouse trap with a piece of cheese attached as bait? For many of us, it may be the latter. But do mice really eat cheese? Is this just another urban legend, passed on through the ages for some unknown reason. We are here to find out. But before we begin, we must know what we're dealing with...
"'Mouse' is a syllable. A syllable does not eat cheese. Therefore a mouse does not eat cheese." -Seneca (Roman philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and humorist)
Cheese has been around for centuries
Cheese is a nutritious food which, most of us know, is made from milk. Aside from obvious cow's milk, cheese is produced from other animals including buffalo, camels, goats, sheep, and yak. It is believed that cheese production first occurred the same time as the domestication of animals (specifically sheep, sometime between 8000 and 3000 B.C.) The popularity of cheese grew, and continues to grow, for many reasons. One reason being it's health benefits; being high in fat, protein, calcium and phosphorus. It is also popular because of it's portability, long shelf-life and most notably, taste. Today, cheese is an incredibly diverse food group, marked by thousands of different types coming from all regions of the world. We know cheese is popular to eat among humans, but what reasons have led us to conclude that mice eat cheese? Do mice get excited about a nice aged cheddar the same way us humans do?
Do mice eat cheese? That is the question...
Realistically, mice will eat anything and everything. In the wild, the majority of mice species are herbivores, meaning they eat plant foods, particularly fruits and seeds. Some carnivorous mice will eat small insects like the grasshopper. Domesticated mice will not only eat cheese, but other things like bread, seeds and nuts, chips, powdered sugar, bananas, paper, cardboard, wax etc. As I mentioned, mice will eat pretty much anything. Although if you do have a pet mouse, it is best to avoid feeding it things like paper and cardboard. A better and much healthier option would be feeding it mouse pellets you buy from a pet store. This will ensure the mouse gets all the vitamins and nutrients it needs.
To conclude the age old question, burning in the minds of great scientists and young children alike: yes, mice eat cheese (technically). The truth is, a mouse will eat almost anything it can find and fit into it's mouth. But does it prefer the taste of cheese over other foods? David Holmes, a researcher from the Manchester Metropolitan University states that a real mouse would much rather eat grains and fruit than some cheese. Homes also mentions that, "mice respond to the smell, texture and taste of food and cheese is something that would not be available to them in their natural environment." In actuality, cheese is far too rich for the average mouse to eat on a daily basis. So, while the mouse will eat cheese from time to time, it is not a staple in it's diet, nor is it a preferred food choice.
A cheesy poem
Do mice eat cheese?
What do I care? They can do as they please.
They can eat swiss, american, cheddar, or bleu,
As long as it's not my cheese! I paid for that, brand new.
I will eat what I like, and they can do the same.
Maybe something fancy, or maybe something plain.
But where do they get their food?
Does it depend on their mood?
Do they borrow from a neighbor, or buy in a store?
If they plan on having dinner guests, they're gonna need to buy more.
But how about when they're all alone, with nobody around?
Do they dare eat cheese, from right off the ground?
Do they put it on a cracker? To enjoy with fruit and wine?
Like I said, I don't care, worrying about what mice eat is a waste of my time.