The name mouse comes from “mus”, a Sanskrit word that actually means thief. Did you know that mice will stay on a table because they are afraid to jump off high vertical drops? Mice can make their own vitamin C. Mice actually enjoy eating hard bread. Mice will nurse babies that are not their own. Baby mice curl up when they are being carried. People would worship mice in temples. Greeks and Indians thought mice were lightning bolts. Japanese bred white mice 300 years ago. There are people who have actually bred blue mice! Mice don’t have roots on their incisors. There are over 1,100 species of mice who are the family Muridae from the Old World family.
Mice in active breeding colonies thrive on the higher fat content and protein in this high energy diet which helps to increase production and keep mice active and somewhat amusing. In ancient stories it was thought that mice punished evil people. A baby mouse is called a pinky or kitten. There are some people who believe that fried mice or mouse pie is a cure for bed wetting! Yuck! A female mouse is called a “doe.” That is strange? A male mouse of course is called a buck! Mice have tails that are as long as their bodies. There are mice that have no hair! The word mouse comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “thief”.
The famous Mickey Mouse was born in 1928. The average mouse lives around 1-2 years. A full grown mouse weighs in at ½ to 1 ounce. In ancient Greece the God Apollo was sometimes called Apollo Smintheus which is Apollo the Mouse. White mice were kept in his temples under the altar to honour him. There were ancient cultures that had a lot of respect for mice. In Egypt a cooked mouse was used to cure a variety of ills and sicknesses including stomach aches. You should never pick a mouse up by its tail. It is true that mice will eat constantly and aren’t picky about what they eat! The first mice arrived in North America as stowaways on ships from Europe.
Unfortunately, mice are known as pests. The most common species is the house mouse. They can harm crops and spread diseases. They are social animals and prefer to be in a large group. They tend to nibble many foods and thus contaminate larger amounts of food in the process making it garbage.
Animal Fun Facts
There are 23 species of crocodiles that live in the Southern reaches of the world. They can be found in swamps and everglades of the south-eastern U.S. in Central and South America, in Africa, Australia, India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Borneo. Crocodiles have long tapered snouts and alligators have broad snouts. Crocodiles can attack at lightning speed! They can kill animals as big and heavy as they are in most cases. They have been known to take down a water buffalo. They are crafty and smart and hunt according to their prey.
They will eat anything including small fish, turtles, gazelles and lions. They even swallow other crocs in defending their territory. They have even been known to swallow stones. Scientists suggest that they are used to ballast them for diving. Crocodiles don’t have litters of babies they have nests of eggs! These are called “clutches.” Some crocs will dig from 10-30 feet into a creek bank to make a burrow for their nest. Then they create a hidden entrance that is at the water line or just below. A clutch can have as little as 8 eggs or as many as 80!
The eggs take about 85 days or 3 months to incubate. Sometimes the mother will help the babies along by cracking the eggshells in her mouth gently as not to harm the babies. The largest crocodiles on earth are the saltwater crocs. They get their names from Salties because they can live in saltwater. The second largest croc is the Nile crocodile. Did you know that a crocodiles tongue is attached to the roof of their mouths and they can’t move them! The Nile Crocs use the environment to regulate their body temperature. They bask all day in the sun for heat. If they get too hot they release the air from their mouths. Some even live in caves.
The jaws of a croc can exert 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. They break through both bones and flesh! New born crocs are 10 inches long and survive on the remnants from the yolk sacs. The mother will carry them from the nest to the water. They grow 12 inches a year and can live up to 45 years and longer in captivity. In Madagascar the crocodile was almost extinct due to hunting them for their skins. Other threats are from fishermen’s nets and habitat loss.
Animal Fun Facts
The raccoon is native to North and South America and even Southern Canada to the northern reaches of Argentina. They have populations in Europe and Germany where they escaped from fur farms and were set loose and hunted for sport during the war! Raccoon comes from the Algonquin word “Arakun” which means one who scratches with his hands. They walk heel to toe just like bears and humans. They are the most recognized animal in the States. Their distinctive black masks and ringed tails make them easy to indentify. There are 6 species and they are usually around 2-1/2 feet long and weigh 12-16 pounds. The largest raccoon weighed in at 60 pounds.
Raccoons can live for 15 years. Humans hunt raccoons for fur, meat and run over and kill them as pests. They prefer wooded areas close to water but can live close to humans too. They will nest in trees or empty underground dens. They are also known to live in cars, sewers and chimneys! They are highly intelligent and have the dexterity of apes. Their fingers can open shells, trash cans and even doors! They eat fruit, insects, berries, eggs and small rodents. They also enjoy grapes, corn, crabs and crayfish. They somehow see with their hands in a tactile way! Babies are born two months after mating. Females are extremely aggressive and ferocious if their young are threatened.
Raccoons don’t hibernate but they will feed heavily in the fall and store fat so they can stay in their burrows through the worst of winter. Raccoons are generally night animals and you will find them wandering during the day do not go near it! Raccoons carry rabies and distemper and can transfer these diseases to humans. The raccoon’s scientific name is Procyon lotor which means, “washer dog”. It is related to the bear family! Populations of raccoons in urban areas can be 20 times higher than for raccoons in rural areas. Raccoons can purr, whistle, growl, hiss, scream and even whine! Raccoons have actually been kept as pets!
However, beware because as they mature they get more and more destructive and aggressive! Their hands are nimble enough to untie a shoelace, unlatch a cage and deftly retrieve coins like dimes from your shirt pocket or pants! They are also excellent swimmers and climbers. They have a highly developed sense of touch in their nose and forepaws.
Animal Fun Facts