The World's Worst Invasive Mammals
Animals as common as goats, deer, rabbits or mice can have a devastating effect on other wildlife
- By Jess Righthand
- Smithsonian.com, December 20, 2010
House mouse (© Redmond Durrell / Alamy)
Apart from humans, mice (Mus musculus) are thought to be the most widely distributed animal in the world. Humans and mice have carried on a somewhat imbalanced partnership over the past 8,000 years: mice take shelter in man-made structures like houses and pass on diseases such as bubonic plague and salmonella. Mice can devour crops and human food reserves. And perhaps second only to eating, the thing mice do best is breed. Females have five to ten litters per year of around six young each. Their numbers sometimes even reach plague status, with millions of mice yielding extensive economic damage by eating stored food or digging up crops. Mice have also been shown to prey on albatross chicks and cause breeding failures in albatross and petrel populations in places like Gough Island in the South Atlantic.