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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mouse: adaptable intelligent animal

  • The typical laboratory mouse runs 2.5 miles per night on its treadmill.
  • A rat can walk longer on desert than a camel without drinking water.
  • Mice have tails that are as long as their bodies.
  • Mice see best in dim light. Their eyesight is weak, but their other senses are acute.
  • Mice have teeth that never stop growing. Mice teeth can grow up to 5 inches a year.
  • Mice squeak at very high frequencies, often above the range of human hearing.
  • Mice can jump down 12 feet without injury; they also have a 12-inch vertical jump.
  • Mice explore their territory daily, showing no aversion to new objects (neophobia).
  • The female mouse ovulates every other day.
  • A baby mouse is called a pinky, or a kitten. A female is called a doe. A male is called a buck
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Superfamily: Muroidea
Family: Muridae
Subfamily: Murinae
Genus: Mus

The word "mouse" and the word muscle are related. Muscle stems from musculus meaning small mouse - possibly because of a similarity in shape The word "mouse" is a cognate of Sanskrit mus meaning 'to steal,' which is also cognate with mys in Old Greek and mus in Latin. Mice range in size from 11 to 21 cm (4 to 8 inches) long (including a long tail). They weigh from .25 to 2 oz (7.1 to 57 g). The coat color ranges from white to brown to gray. Most mice have a pointed snout with long whiskers, round ears, and thin tails. Many mice scurry along the ground, but some can hop or jump.

Mice are common experimental animals in biology and psychology primarily because they are mammals, mice also share a high degree of homology with humans. They are the most commonly used mammalian model organism, more common than rats. The mouse genome has been sequenced, and virtually all mouse genes have human homologs. There are other reasons for why mice are used in laboratory research. Mice are small, inexpensive, easily maintained, and can reproduce quickly. Several generations of mice can be observed in a relatively short period of time. Mice are generally very docile if raised from birth and given sufficient human contact. However, certain strains have been known to be quite temperamental. Mice (and rats) have the same organs in the same places, just different proportions.

Mice live for one to two years. They can start having babies at 6-8 weeks old and have 5-10 in each litter (pregnancy lasts 3 weeks). Babies are born hairless with their eyes closed. One mother mouse can produce over 100 babies a year.


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