Mice (Mus musculus)
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The house mouse (Mus musculus) is a small rodent, a mouse, one of the most numerous species of the genus Mus.As a wild animal the house mouse mainly lives associated with humans, causing damage to crops and stored food. The house mouse has been domesticated as the pet or fancy mouse, and as the laboratory mouse which is one of the most important model organisms in biology and medicine. It is by far the most commonly used genetically altered laboratory mammal.
House mice have an adult body length (nose to base of tail) of 7.5–10 cm (3.0–3.9 in) and a tail length of 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in). The weight is typically 10–25 g (0.4–0.9 oz). They vary in colour from white to grey, and light brown to black. They have short hair and a light belly. The ears and tail have little hair. The hind feet are short compared to Apodemus mice, only 15–19 mm (0.59–0.75 in) long; the normal gait is a run with a stride of about 4.5 cm (1.8 in), though they can jump up to 45 cm (18 in). The droppings are blackish, about 3 mm (0.12 in) long, and have a strong musty smell. The voice is a high-pitched squeak.
House mice thrive under a variety of conditions: they are found in and around homes and commercial structures as well as in open fields and agricultural lands. House mice consume and contaminate food, pet food and animal feed. In addition, they often cause considerable agricultural and property damage. They also transmit disease-causing pathogens and parasites.
Reconstructed image of a House Mouse skull.Young males and females are not easily distinguished: females have a significantly smaller distance between their anus and genital opening. Females have 5 pairs of mammary glands and nipples; males have no nipples. When sexually mature, the most striking and obvious difference is the presence of testicles on the males. These are large compared to the rest of the body and can be retracted into the body. In addition to the regular pea-size thymus organ in the chest, house mice have a second functional pinhead-size thymus organ in the neck next to the trachea.
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