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Did You Know?
by Margarete Hasserodt (Information from ORGANIC GARDENING, Nov-Jan 2007/08)
Did you wake up on a chilly autumn night and hear a high-pitched squeak or a soft scrambling behind your walls? Have you noticed little small, black droppings on the kitchen counter? You most likely had visitors looking for a warm place to stay for the winter. Yes, house mice have invaded your place.
The house mouse (Mus musculus) is a brilliant survivalist, thriving in places never intended by nature. While we loathe the house mouse for eating and contaminating food and spreading disease, through breeding we've turned it into our ally-the domesticated laboratory mouse-indispensable in biomedical and genetic research. So if modern medicine has ever done you any favors, thank a mouse.
House mice are nocturnal, with excellent hearing, vision, and sense of smell. They can swim, jump, and run up to 8 miles per hour.
Given a chance, house mice overwhelmingly choose your warm home with all its stocked food, but most must make do living outdoors. Each mouse makes its own nest but lives in a group with others.
Indoors, house mice consume any human food they can get, as well as glue, soap, paper, and other household materials. Seeds, leaves, stems, and roots are the main diet of outdoor house mice, but they also eat beetle larvae, cockroaches, and caterpillars.
With a gestation period of approximately 19 days, a female can produce 13 litters in one year, with six or more babies in a litter. Since they are the preferred snack of much of the animal kingdom, most only live less than 18 months.
Although mice are generally known to like fruits, it is said, that they are repelled by the scent of many varieties of artificial fruit scent, i.e. strawberry or vanilla-scented candles. So, if you don't like to use traps in your home, see if candles work.