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House mouse (Mus musculus).—Ingmar Holmasen
Any of many species (family Muridae) of small, scampering rodents. They are distinguished from rats principally by their smaller size. Mice are basically Asian in origin, but species have been introduced worldwide. Species in other rodent families (e.g., deer mouse, pocket mouse) are called mice without scientific basis. Mice eat grains, roots, fruit, grass, and insects. They can become pests but are mostly beneficial; they are the main prey of most furbearers and of predators that might otherwise take more valuable prey. The white laboratory mouse is a form of house mouse. See alsofield mouse.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on mouse, visit Britannica.com.