The Life Cycle of a House Mouse
The life cycle of a house mouse (Mus musculus) can be broken down into six stages: conception, gestation, birth, weaning, maturation, and reproduction. In this article, we will quickly explore each of these stages.
The first stage in the life cycle of a house mouse begins at conception. Female mice become sexually mature at approximately 6 to 10 weeks of age and are capable of mating and reproduction. The mating process may last for several hours.
Once fertilization occurs, the gestation period lasts approximately 19 to 21 days. The fertilized egg develops into an embryo during this time. The embryo then implants in the uterine, and the formation of a placenta begins. The placenta will provide the necessary nutrients and oxygen required by the developing fetus.
A completed gestation period usually results in the birth of 5 to 6 pups, born blind, deaf and hairless. For the next few weeks, the offspring will be completely dependent upon their mother for both food and warmth.
The mother will feed the pups for the next 4 weeks. A strict diet of her milk will help the pups as they begin to develop, including the development of teeth. By the fourth week, they will begin to explore their environment and eat other foods. By the eighth week of life, they will be weaned, fully independent, and ready to venture out on their own.
After the pups are fully weaned, they will be at or near sexual maturity. At 6 – 10 weeks old, they are now capable of successfully reproducing and continuing the life cycle.
The female mouse can potentially reproduce multiple times each year. Every 2 – 4 weeks she can become pregnant with a new litter. This means that with an average life span of 1 – 2 years, 1 female mouse could potentially yield between 150 – 300 offspring in her lifetime. Each female pup becomes available for reproduction at a 6 – 10 weeks and can likewise produce 150-300 offspring in her lifetime. In short, roughly every 10 weeks, a new prospective female breeder is possible. You can only begin to imagine how quickly one pregnant mouse can turn in to a thousand!
For this reason, the life cycle of a house mouse from conception and gestation to birth, weaning, maturation, and reproduction, must be understood if we are to enjoy any success in management and control procedures. Here at Four Seasons Pest Solutions, we understand the complexity of mice and how to successfully control their populations. Controlling populations also helps reduce health risks to humans and domestic animals.
Remember, it’s okay to live among pests… but you don’t have to live with them!