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House Mouse (Introduced)

House Mouse
Mus musculus

The House Mouse, which is probably the most well-known rodent, is found state-wide in Tennessee.

A small rodent with an elongated snout, protruding, black eyes, large ears, and a scaly tail that is mostly hairless and about one-half the body length. Their short fur is grayish-brown on the back and is slightly lighter on the belly. The tail is slightly darker above and lighter below.
Length: 5.0 - 8.1 inches
Tail: 2.4 - 4.0 inches
Ears: 0.4 - 0.8 inches
Weight: 0.5 - 1.0 ounces

Similar Species:
All 3 deermice have a sharp contrast between their white under parts and their upper fur color.

  • Meadow Jumping Mouse has a much longer tail, longer hind feet, and yellowish sides.
  • Eastern Harvest Mouse usually has a dark stripe down the center of the back, but can only be separated positively by analysis of dental formulas.

: The House Mouse occurs in a variety of habitats, but is usually found among houses, barns, and buildings. They can also be found in old fields, grain fields, fencerows, weedy roadsides, and woodlots.

Omnivorous, but prefers grains, seeds, leaves, stems, and roots. They also eat insects, human food, and carrion.

Breeding information:
House Mice can breed throughout the year, but they mostly produce young from spring through fall. Females are pregnant 19-21 days before delivering 2-13 (usually 5-7) young. They are very prolific and may produce as many as 14 litters per year, although 5-10 litters is normal. The young develop fur by 10 days old and are weaned by 3 weeks.

Status in Tennessee:
The House Mouse needs no protection as it is quite common. They can also produce a considerable amount of damage to property and foods.

Fun Facts
  • House Mice can pass through openings as small as ½ inch in diameter.
  • They are highly migratory, especially if environmental conditions become unfavorable.

Best places to see in Tennessee: Houses, sheds, or farm buildings.

For more information:

Schwartz, C.W. and E.R. Schwartz. 2001. The Wild Mammals of Missouri, 2nd Edition. University of Missouri Press and Missouri Department of Conservation, Columbia, MO.