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Mice

New World Mice (hesperomyinae), Deer Mice, House Mice, Wood Mice, Spiny MiceOld World mice (Murinae)

Mice are small fury mammals, usually living on the ground, with bright beady eyes, rounded ears, and long tails. Mice live all around the world, in almost every habitat, and are a very important part of nature. They are typically vegetarians, often eating seeds and grain, but some species have developed much more comprehensive diets. Known for their high rates of reproduction, females are normally pregnant for three or four weeks and give birth to multiple young. In most species, the young are naked, blind, and helpless at birth. Mice are an important source of food for numerous animals and are preyed upon by a wide variety of predators, ranging from owls to weasels. Mice also impact humans in a variety of ways.

Belonging to the order Rodentia, mice, along with other types of rodents, are further classified in the suborder Myomoxpha. This is a huge suborder. In fact, more than one quarter of all mammal species on Earth belong to the suborder Myomorpha, which includes five families: rats and mice (Muridae), dormice (Gliridae and Seleviniidae), jerboas (Dipodidae), and jumping mice and birch mice (Zapodidae). The family Muridae is the largest family, containing 1,082 species of mice, rats, voles, lemmings, hamsters and gerbils. While there are 14 subfamilies within this family, the vast majority of these species belong to four subfamilies: the New World rats and mice (Hesperomyinae), the Old World rats and mice (Murinae), gerbils (Gerbillinae), and voles and lemmings (Microtinae).


Containing almost 400 different species, the subfamily of Old World mice includes mice and rats that are highly adaptable and tolerant of adverse natural environments. Oftentimes pests, these mice eat grains and crops, and can carry diseases. Three very interesting groups of Old World mice are the house mice, the wood mice, and spiny mice.


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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Methane to Molecular clock