Other Mammals - Sounds Wild


Download Episode: Mice (MP3 file 1,407 kB)



One evening my cat popped through the cat door with a limp mouse in his mouth. I was not appreciative, especially since as soon as he dropped the rodent on the mat it sprang to life and darted under the fridge. I could tell it was not a vole or native deer mouse, but a brown house mouse. This invasive species is originally from Asia or northern India and has spread around the globe. That mouse lived in the kitchen for months and eluded both my cats and my attempts to trap it. I'd see it occasionally dashing across the kitchen in a blur, and I learned why it was such a survivor.

For starters, mice are fast. A mouse can run 12 feet in a second. Maybe not as fast as that speedy cartoon mouse, but fast enough to dodge my old cats. Mice are also excellent swimmers. They're pretty tough, too, a mouse can survive fall of eight feet onto a hard surface.

Fortunately, this mouse had no company, because a mouse is sexually mature when it's a month old. A female mouse can become pregnant again within two days after giving birth. A female mouse can have eight litters in its year-long life, with litters averaging four to seven pups. So a single female can potentially produce up to 56 offspring in a year. Mice will reproduce year-round in a stable environment with sufficient food and water.

The mouse in my kitchen must've slowed down in his old age, because one night the cat's incessant meowing brought me to the kitchen, where he proudly stood over the now defeated rodent.