A-z - Animals

What's the Mouse's Name and 4 More Surprising Facts!

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When you think of little mice, the word "cute" probably doesn't come to your mind. Let's be honest, a newborn mouse isn't the cutest thing in the world. However, these rodents are remarkable creatures that we can learn a lot about.

Read on to learn five awesome facts about little mice, and check out some seriously cute kit pictures!

#1: Little mice are called puppies or kittens!

little mouse portrait
Rat babies are called pups.

©Maslov Dmitry/Shutterstock.com

Little mice are called puppies! Puppies and kittens might remind you of cats and dogs. But did you know that rats are also known by these names as babies? These tiny rodents also share names with animals like otters, skunks and even foxes.

#2: There are no little mice in Alberta

mouse baby and mother
Alberta, Canada attaches great importance to rodent control work.


Young mice are very hardy animals. They can survive in very adverse conditions, which means they can live almost anywhere humans live. However, there is one exception: Alberta, Canada, is rat-free. In 1950, the province passed a program for the complete eradication of small rodents.

It's hard to believe that entire provinces in Canada are completely rat-free. However, it is true! However, the road to a rat-free zone has not been easy. Every time a rat is found, it is immediately reported to local government officials and dealt with swiftly.

If you thought government pest control alone would be enough to keep rats away, think again. They go to great lengths to maintain their rat-free title. It is illegal to own any pet rats in Alberta, further ensuring the province is rat-free.

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#3: Mice Are Naturally Bald

little mouse close-up
Rat babies are born completely bald.

© Chotiwut Hongthong/Shutterstock.com

Rats are known for their short and sometimes multi-colored fur, pink tails, and tiny feet. But as newborns, they look a lot different than you might imagine.

At birth, pups are completely bald. Although their tails are present, they are pale pink and very short. Their heads are disproportionately larger than their bodies, and their eyes are closed. They are so small that they fit easily into a teaspoon.

Rats live in one litter of about three to twenty individuals, with a typical average size of four to eight. Since they are born naked, it's not surprising to see mouse siblings huddling together for warmth during the first few weeks of their lives. Rats are very social animals and love to play with their kin – they can even fight!

Rat kittens will begin to grow fur when they are about a week old. At this time, their bodies also changed from light white to pink, which made them more recognizable. Their eyes open at about two weeks of age, but with very thin eyelids, so they're used to seeing changes in light.

#4: Mice are amazing breeders

little mouse standing
A female mouse can give birth to thousands of babies in her lifetime.

©Maslov Dmitry/Shutterstock.com

The sheer number of pups a single female mouse can produce is staggering. On average, a female rat can produce up to 12 litters a year. The average litter size is around 6 and can go up to 20, meaning a female can have between 72 and 240 babies per year.

A major reason the rat population is growing so rapidly is due to the age of sexual maturity of the animals. A pup can start giving birth at just five weeks old. This means that if a mother rat has an average of 6 pups, all females, there could be about 36 additional litter rats in about 8 weeks. The gestation period of mice is only 21-23 days.

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Mice are most likely to mate and reproduce when they are young and healthy. As they get older and weaker, female mice mate less and produce fewer offspring. However, by the time a female mouse is old enough to slow down mating, she has produced thousands of offspring. Sounds like a lot of responsibility, right?

#5: Rat Kits Are Not Dirty Animals

little mouse playing
The rat kit is as hygienic as a normal cat or dog.

©Maslov Dmitry/Shutterstock.com

Unfortunately, little mice get a bad reputation for being nasty animals, but that's not the case. Since they're stereotyped as the type of animal that forages in dirty trash cans and lives in sewers, many people assume they're inherently dirty, too.

In fact, young and adult mice are very clean animals. They prefer to keep their den very tidy, taking time to groom themselves several times a day. When it comes to pet rats, their hygiene is comparable to that of a pet dog or cat.


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More from AZ Animals

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little mouse playing

© Maslov Dmitry/Shutterstock.com

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

what is the name of the small animal

Young mice are called kits or pups. A group of little mice is called litter or mischief. They're not the only animals in the world known as such, either. They also share this baby title with cats, dogs and even foxes!

How big is the little mouse?

Newborn pups are very small. They fit easily into a teaspoon.

What do mice eat?

Rat pups survive the first three weeks of their lives on only mother's milk. Afterwards, they feed on insects, earthworms, fruits, vegetables and grains.

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Where does the little mouse live?

Young rats live everywhere humans live except in Alberta, Canada.

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