Different Types of Mice In A Nutshell:
- There are 1,100 species of mice.
- About 200 species live in the USA.
- The common house mouse is 3-4 inches long.
- Larger mice grow up to 6-8 inches in length.
There are some 200 different types of mice in the New World – about 1,100 different species worldwide. In the New World they are sub-divided, however, into 30 general categories, which makes them a lot easier to get to grips with.
Common House Mouse
The common house mouse or Mus Musculus, is the best known species and you can see a photo and read about its characteristics at the ADW. It is also often kept as a pet. The white footed mouse (Peromyscus Leucopus, see the Museum of Natural History) and the deer mouse (Peromyscus Maniculatus, see the NSRL) are distantly connected to the common house mouse, but more closely related to each other. However, the white footed mouse and the deer mouse cannot breed with the common house mouse. In America you will also find the American harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys, see the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries).
The term, field mouse, is one applied to various different species of mice that can be found living in field conditions. In the Old World, a common type of field mouse is Apodemus sylvaticus. It is a long-tailed animal, nocturnal with burrowing habits that feeds on succulent plants. Another common Old World species is the European harvest mouse (Micromys minutus). This is a very small animal, much smaller than most mice species.
The common house mouse is about 3 to 4 inches long with a tail of about the same length. It has agouti fur, which is a pigmentation pattern where individual hairs have light and dark band. The tips of the hairs are black.
The white footed mouse is much larger than the house mouse at between 6 and 8 inches in length, with a shorter tail of between 3 and 4 inches long. It has agouti fur on its body, and its belly is white, as well as its feet.
The deer mouse is the hairiest of the three. This hairiness is best seen around its ears where it can often have a white tuft at the base of the ear. It has an agouti body with a lighter coloured belly. It is the largest of the three at between 4 1/2 to 8 1/2 inches in length, with a tail of between 2 inches and 4 inches long.