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House Mouse, Mus musculus

The House Mouse, which is probably the most well-known rodent, is found state-wide in Tennessee.

Description:  A small rodent with an elongated snout, protruding, black eyes, large ears, and a scaly tail that is mostly hairless and about one-half the body length.   Their short fur is grayish-brown on the back and is slightly lighter on the belly.  The tail is slightly darker above and lighter below.

Length:  5.0 - 8.1 inches
Tail:
  2.4 - 4.0 inches
Ears:
0 .4 - 0.8 inches
Weight: 
0.5 - 1.0 ounces

Similar Species:   All 3 deermice have a sharp contrast between their white under parts and their upper fur color.
 •Meadow Jumping Mouse has a much longer tail, longer hind feet, and yellowish sides.
 •Eastern Harvest Mouse usually has a dark stripe down the center of the back, but can only be separated positively by analysis of dental formulas.

Habitat:  The House Mouse occurs in a variety of habitats, but is usually found among houses, barns, and buildings. They can also be found in old fields, grain fields, fencerows, weedy roadsides, and woodlots.

Diet:  Omnivorous, but prefers grains, seeds, leaves, stems, and roots. They also eat insects, human food, and carrion.

Breeding information:  House Mice can breed throughout the year, but they mostly produce young from spring through fall.   Females are pregnant 19-21 days before delivering 2-13 (usually 5-7) young.   They are very prolific and may produce as many as 14 litters per year, although 5-10 litters is normal.   The young develop fur by 10 days old and are weaned by 3 weeks.

Status in Tennessee:  The House Mouse needs no protection as it is quite common. They can also produce a considerable amount of damage to property and foods.

Fun Facts:
•House Mice can pass through openings as small as ½ inch in diameter.
•They are highly migratory, especially if environmental conditions become unfavorable.

Best places to see in Tennessee:  Houses, sheds, or farm buildings.

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