There are many, many different species of mouse. There are 38 species in the genus ‘Mus’ alone.
The name ‘mouse’ actually applies to a number of small rodents all having soft grey or brown fur, long hairless tails and large ears. The major distinction between the variety of rodents of their difference in sizes, for example, a rat is much larger than a mouse.
Most, but not all, of the rodents called mice are members of the rodent subclass ‘Myomorpha’, or ‘mouse like rodents’. There are approximately 1,100 species in this enormous group and they are classified into several families.
The family ‘Muridae’ is referred to as the ‘Old World Mice’. This family includes the House Mouse as well as a large amount of wild-living Old World species of mice. Wild-living Old World mice include the tiny European Harvest mouse (Micromys minutus) and the African Tree mouse.
The cosmopolitan family ‘Cricetidae’ includes the native New World mice, such as the Deer mouse, American Harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys), the carnivorous Grasshopper mouse, the South American field mouse, the Pack rat and the Rice rat. It also includes the various Old and New World species of Vole, Hamster, Lemming, Muskrat and Gerbil. Other families of the ‘Myomorpha’ include the Dormouse, Jumping mouse and Jerboa. The Pocket mouse and the Kangaroo rats and mice are members of the suborder ‘Sciuromorpha’, or squirrel like rodents.
The best known mouse species is the Common House mouse (Mus musculus). It is found in nearly all countries and is also a popular pet. This mouse is believed to be the second most populous mammalian species on Earth, after Human Beings. House mice almost always live in close proximity of humans. House mice are light brown to black, with short hair and a light belly. The genus ‘Peromyscus’, contains species commonly referred to as Deer mice. This is a genus of New World mouse only distantly related to the common house mouse. The genus ‘Peromyscus’ includes the following mice:
californicus-species group: California Mouse P. californicus eremicus-species group: Cactus Mouse P. eremicus Angel Island Mouse P. guardia San Lorenzo Deer Mouse P. interparietalis Dickey’s Deer Mouse P. dickeyi False Canyon Mouse P. pseudocrinitus Eva’s Desert Mouse P. eva Burt’s Deer Mouse P. caniceps Merriam’s Mouse P. merriami Pemberton’s Deer Mouse P. pembertoni
Deer mice can also live in houses with close proximity with humans.
The list of mouse species is endless. The most important issue here is to name those that are able to be kept as domestic pets. Below are the most common mice that are brought and kept as a family pet:
Species Scientific Name Alternative name Fancy Mouse Mus musculus Domestic Mouse
House Mouse Arabian Spiny Mouse Acomys cahirinus dimmidiatus Cairo Spiny Mouse Egyptian Spiny Mouse Acomys cahirinus cahirinus Golden Spiny Mouse Acomys russatus lewisi Dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius Harvest Mouse Micromys minutus Deer Mouse Peromyscus maniculatus Wood Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus