Interesting facts about mice

September 13, 2010 | In: Animal facts for kids

For about as long as anybody can remember, mice and men have been constant companions, though the relationship has not always been a happy one.

The word “mouse,” for example, illustrates both the antiquity and the adversarial relationship between man and mouse. It comes from the ancient Indo-European language, Sanskrit, and means “thief.”

Mice are some of the smaller members of the rodent family, which also includes rats, gerbils, lemmings and others. And while there are several types of mice, including harvest mice, deer mice and grasshopper mice, the most commonly seen is the house mouse, which grows to about two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half inches long and lives almost everywhere in the world where there are people.

Cats, wild dogs, foxes, birds of prey, snakes and even certain kinds of arthropods have been known to prey heavily upon mice. Nevertheless, because of its remarkable adaptability to almost any environment, the mouse is one of the most successful mammalian genera living on Earth today.

Mice are common experimental animals in biology and psychology primarily because they are mammals, and also because they share a high degree of homology with humans.

Many people buy mice as companion pets. They can be playful, loving and can grow used to being handled.

Humans have eaten mice since prehistoric times and still eat them as a delicacy throughout eastern Zambia and northern Malawi, although they are no longer routinely consumed by humans elsewhere.

Living up to the name of “thief,” these little rodents steal their meals from people, eating grain, vegetables and meat, or even leather, glue and soap.

But if house mice make their living from people, people also take advantage of mice, sometimes keeping them as pets or using them as subjects to test drugs or study behavior

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