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What are the characteristics and behavior of field mice?

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Quick Answer

Field mice are small, and they prefer to live in grassy fields where they often dig burrows. Favorite foods of the field mouse include grains, nuts, seeds, fruit and berries. Though they are omnivorous, they become cannibalistic during extreme food shortages.

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Full Answer

Field mice are at the bottom of the food chain and are prey for other animals. Because of this, they are also excellent jumpers and swimmers. They are nocturnal, and their hearing and eyesight are well developed.

The long-tailed field mouse, or wood mouse, lives in Europe, the northernmost parts of Scandinavia, and parts of Asia, Africa and Great Britain. It is about 2.4 to 6.3 inches long, and its tail is often as long as its body. Its fur is soft and brownish gray, and its sense of smell is so acute that it can find the location of buried seeds. Its teeth grow continuously, and it must wear them down by gnawing.

The yellow-necked mouse, once classified as a wood mouse, is actually a separate species. It is larger than the wood mouse and has a yellow band of fur around its neck. It is a good climber, spends its winters in human habitation and can spread the hantavirus to humans.

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