Für die Menschen. Für Westfalen-Lippe.

Atlas der Säugetiere Nordrhein-Westfalens

AG Säugetierkunde in NRW

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House mouse

Rote Liste NRW: nb nicht bewertet

Mus domesticus




Foto: Henning Vierhaus
In NRW, House Mice are usually dark slate-grey (mouse-grey) with a barely lighter belly. They have a tail that exceeds the body length, large ears but relatively small eyes and a pointed head. Their presence is often betrayed by a characteristic smell. Until the middle of the last century it was mostly this species that made itself comfortable in barns and occupied buildings as a commensal in close proximity to humans. The House Mouse is nocturnal as well as diurnal. Because of changed construction practices and storage facilities that are better protected against animal invaders, the species has declined. Consequently in pellets of outdoor hunting owls there are only occasionally House Mouse remains. Nowadays, in winter one encounters mostly other species like the Wood Mouse or the Yellow-necked Mouse in buildings. Nevertheless, the House Mouse is distributed area-wide in NRW, whereby this is exclusively the commensal, typical House-House Mouse, Mus domesticus. This mouse form is usually considered identical with the Eastern House Mouse, Mus musculus.

The House Mouse immigrated parallel to the spread of agriculture from Asia. The oldest North Rhine-Westphalian record stems from iron-age sediments of the Emscher, more than 300 years before Christ. Under our climatic conditions, the House Mouse is dependent year-round on living together with humans. Where the species has disappeared it is quickly reintroduced with grain and feed transports. However, successful resettlements are only possible if the habitats were previously free of House Mice. House Mice are organized in family groups (so-called demes), whose individuals recognize each other by their smell. Individuals who don′t belong to a deme are not tolerated and chased away. Within a building or a complex of buildings several demes can occur who behave strictly territorial towards the other families.


Holger Meinig


Meinig H (2023): Hausmaus (Mus domesticus).In: AG Säugetierkunde NRW — Online-Atlas of the mammals of North Rhine-Westphalia. Downloaded from saeugeratlas-nrw.lwl.org on 2023/03/26



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