Origin: This species originated in Eastern Asia in arid grasslands, allowing it to evolve the ability to survive without needing frequent water. It now occurs throughout the world.
Biology: A prolific breeder, the House Mouse is sexually mature at 2 months old, has a gestation period of only 3 weeks, and averages 5 to 8 young per litter, but potentially up to 15. Each female may give birth to 8 litters. The life span can be from 2 to 3 years. The House Mouse is a nibbler, consuming small quantities of food at many feedings. They are “curious”, and tend to investigate new objects that are placed in their environment. Favored foods may be grains, dried fruits, nuts, and sweet materials. They are known reservoirs of diseases such as rickettsial pox (mites), typhus (fleas), and filth problems with Salmonella, tapeworm, roundworm, and others parasites.
Identification: Adults remain small, less than 7 inches long from tip of nose to tip of tail. They have hairless, scaly tails that separate them from meadow or deer mice, and ears relatively bare of hairs. A young rat looks similar to the House Mouse, but the rat has feet and eyes that are disproportionately large in comparison with its head and body.
These nasties do not have the slightest sense of decency or cleanliness. They contaminate the environment in several ways, the most worrying of which is, their tendency to urinate and defecate freely all over the place. One hundred mice in a granary produce approximately 100kg of faeces, or more than 2 million droppings, in a single year.
The same number of rats produce approximately one ton of faeces, consisting of just less than 2 million droppings per year. With such a prolific source of fecal material, it would be difficult to avoid contamination.
Rodent urine also poses a substantial threat. A house mouse produces something like 0,76l of urine per year and a rat more than 5l. If one considers the fact that they urinate wherever they find themselves, it is quite clear that they thoroughly contaminate the granary as well as its contents.
Their gnawing can cause serious damage to storehouses and machinery. Both mice and rats can gnaw through lead, aluminium and concrete, and also through electric wiring and wiring systems that may halt machinery and necessitate repeated expensive repairs. In poultry runs they gnaw through water pipes and carry off chunks of insulating material with which they line their nests.
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