Posted: December 15, 2014, 3:10 p.m. EST
Do you share your home with a member of the Muridae family, specifically a Mus musculus? Not sure? Well, if the sound of a squeaky wheel resonates during the night, or you spy a little critter curled up fast asleep during the day, you might just have the small critter companion referred to as a fancy mouse, house mouse or, more simply put … a mouse.
Mice have been so common for so long that they have a Latin name all to themselves — Mus is a direct translation to "mouse.” Interestingly, musculus is the Latin word for "muscle,” so you could say that the mouse really is a Mighty Mouse — as in the animated superhero of the same name featured in movies and Saturday morning cartoons.
If you’re looking for the perfect name for your little mouse companion, there are plenty more famous mice from which to draw inspiration. The magical world of Disney gives us the most famous mouse pair in the world: Mickey and Minnie. There’s also Stuart Little, a perfect name for a white mouse, as that is the main character of the 1945 children’s novel by E.B. White and the 1999 theatrical release.
Mice can be quick, which makes the Looney Tunes caricature Speedy Gonzales, or just Speedy, a befitting name. Another mouse from the Big Screen is Mr. Jingles, a white mouse that fills a pivotal role in the Oscar-nominated movie The Green Mile (1999).
Mice are also curious creatures and that curiosity can get them into some tricky situations, which is why Danger Mouse, the name of the British cartoon superhero with a strong resemblance to James Bond, belongs on the name’s list. Other pop culture names to consider include Jerry, the smaller partner of the popular cartoon duo Tom and Jerry. There’s also The Itchy & Scratchy Show, which is a fictional animated TV series featured on the real animated TV show The Simpsons. Much like Tom and Jerry, Itchy the mouse has a nemesis cat, Scratchy.
© Courtesy of Lauren Paul
Groups of mice at the North Star Rescue might be given names based on a theme.
So Many Mice, So Many Names
If you ran a mouse rescue group, how would come up with names — lots of names — for the little charges in your care? For Lauren Paul, founder and current director of technology at North Star Rescue in the San Francisco Bay Area, you pull from multiple inspirations.
"We come up with names for mice in lots of different ways, sometimes it's based on their appearance,” Paul said. "For example, we had a big, chubby, orange mouse we named Cheddar Biscuit because he was quite biscuit-shaped.”
When North Star Rescue receives a group of mice surrendered together, its go-to naming tool is to give the group a name and then give individuals names associated with that group.
"That might mean they all get food names — Waffles, Chocolate, Peanut; plant-based names — Lilly, Petunia, Tulip; or even astrological names — Leo, Orion, Venus,” Paul said.
© Courtesy of Lucinda Rideout
Lucinda Rideout says that mice like to have names with the S sound in them.
Lucinda Rideout of Saint Nicholas Mouse Rescue in Virginia says her mice (and rats) usually name themselves.
"I think they telepathically communicate such things. I may give them a name, but if they ignore me, I wait to see what they want to be called,” Rideout said. "Sometimes I go through a list, and if the mouse/rat responds, then I continue to call them that.”
Rideout adds that mice like "ssss” sounding names because they hear and speak ultrasonically. "However, many of my mice have such names as Basil, Nicholas, Nina, Pinta, Isabella and Rufus.”
When dealing with a large family colony of mice, Rideout often goes with a group name, and addresses them collectively, such as saying "Hello girls” for her girl group of mice.
"In the beginning, I named some of my colony mice by a theme such as: Queen Isabella, Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. With so many in my rescue, and my failing memory, I only name a few favorites.”
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