A mouse is a small rodent. The word mice or mouse is sometimes used to refer to any small rodent. The word mouse has no exact meaning in classification systems. There are numerous amounts of mice in the world, but for convenience they are often grouped as the Eurasian mice and the American mice. Most mice live in human habitats. Most, but not all, of the rodents called mice are members of the rodent subclass Myomorpha, meaning mouse like rodents. There are around 1,100 species in this group and are classified in several different families. Other types of mice include: the European harvest mouse, the African tree mouse, the deer mouse, the American harvest mouse, the grasshopper mouse, the South American field mouse, pack rats, and rice rats. Other rodents that resemble mice are the mole, hamster, lemming, muskrat, and the gerbil. There is a marsupial mouse, but it is not a rodent descendant, but instead a kangaroo ancestor.
Mice are common and are indigenous to almost every land area. They eat various foods, including grain, roots, fruit, grass, insects, and sometimes human food. Many mice species prefer to live in man made structures because they are a lot more stable and warm. Mice can be huge pests because they destroy food, gnaw on all types of materials, and sometimes carry diseases such as murine typhus and plagues. Some mice in the wild become so numerous that they become permanent crop pests and kill the farmer s crops uncontrollably. Mice although do benefit humans by being a food supply for larger animals that could instead be harming livestock and large amounts of agriculture. Some mice problems might even result in the exterminator having to come and kill the mice off, but usually getting rid of mice can be taken care of by using mouse traps.
The house mouse, Mus musculus, mostly encountered in buildings, has been brought over by humans from Eurasia to all inhabited areas in the world. These mice are brown or gray, and can grow up to twenty cm. long, including a ten cm. tail. These mice will eat almost everything edible. They mature very quickly and are able to mate only two or three months after they are born. Their liters consist of up to 12 young at a time, and in warmer places, mating occurs throughout the year. The house mice are sometimes used in lab experiments and are also sometimes kept as house pets.
Field mice is the name given to most mice that are living in the wild in different parts of the world. The Old World field mice are species of the genus Apodemus. They are very closely related to the house mouse and found throughout Eurasia and North Africa. The field mice are nocturnal, burrowing creatures that frequently invade gardens and houses causing destruction of valuable property. In North America, field mice are referred to as voles. South American field mice belong to the genus Akodon. There are about sixty species distributed among a wide variety of habitats, including human habitats.