Mating Mice Make Millions More!

     When many of us think about mice, we don't usually think of just one mouse.  Many picture hundreds to thousands of mice scurrying around, so how does this happen?  What allows the house mouse to have such a high reproductive potential?
    For starters, female house mice go into heat every four to six days throughout the year!  Although they can reproduce at anytime, wild mice tend to breed only from April to September.  The typical gestation period is nineteen to twenty-one days, at which point a litter of about five to seven is born furless, blind, and completely dependent on the mother.Baby Mouse Only 4 Days Old!
    The young feed at first solely on the mother's milk.  They develop fur after about ten days, and their eyes open after fourteen days.  They are weaned from the mother after approximately three weeks.
    Both male and female mice reach sexual maturity after only six weeks at which point the whole process can start all over again.  How do mice attract a mate?  A somewhat recent study shows that males produce ultrasonic sounds when they come into contact with female sex pheromones.  It seems that this may be involved in choosing a mate.  (Holy and Guo, 2005).
Baby Mouse Nursing


Interactions With Other Organisms