You may encounter one of four species of mouse in the United States: the deer mouse, house mouse, western harvest mouse, or white-footed mouse. Different areas and habitats across North America will be home to different species of mice. The deer mouse, for example, is found commonly along the west coast of the country, with the white-footed mouse more commonly found across eastern US.
The house mouse is the most prolific pest animal across the entirety of the US, and it sure can come with its fair share of problems!
The typical house mouse is quite a small character, only around 5 to 8 inches with the tail included. They barely tip the scales at an ounce, too, with many of them between 0.5 and 1 ounce. In color, the house mouse can vary greatly, with tones of brown, gray, white, cream, and even darker, almost-blacker flecks at times.
The white-footed mouse is around the same size, with similar color markings as the house mouse. As the name suggests, the underside and paws of the rodent are often very light, almost white.
The western harvest mouse is slightly larger than both of these, between 6 to 9 inches in length with the tail included, and tends to be more orange or rusty-toned in color.
The deer mouse can be both both smaller and larger than all of these, ranging from 4 inches to 9 inches in length, with often grey and almost red-toned markings.
The lifespan of a house mouse is actually less than one year in the wild, and the same can be said for the deer mouse and western harvest mouse, especially due to predation. The white-footed mouse tends to do a little better in the wild, with a life span of around 2 or 3 years.
All mouse species can breed all throughout the year, often having as many 8 litters with 3 to15-plus babies, called pups, in each. Those pups are ready to leave the safety of their nest and start a new life, becoming sexually active themselves, at around 5 or 6 weeks of age.
Mice like to live in small, closed-in, hidden-away areas of your home, often living in wall cavities, behind baseboards, in crawl spaces, in basements, inside cupboards or drawers, underneath appliances, in attics, underneath floorboards, and many more places besides. As long as the space is quiet, dark, warm, secluded, and offers shelter from predators, the mouse can make it a home.
Mouse nests are often built in close proximity to sources of food, so if food is being nibbled on in your kitchen, it's like that the mice are nesting in that room (or in the walls/floors/ceiling), or very close to it.
Mice love sweet things, and that's why they're often drawn to breakfast cereal-type items in the kitchen cupboards. They eat both animal and plant-based foods, and, much like rats, will feast on virtually any food substance they come across, no matter the state of it.
Particular favorite foods for mice seem to be grains, seeds, nuts, peanut butter, fruits, and human packaged foods, but there's very little they won't eat, especially when food sources are tough to come by; winter, for example.
Mice are associated with a vast number of diseases, with different pathogens often affecting different species differently. Combined, the different mouse species are responsible for the spread of salmonella, hantavirus, LCMV (lymphocytic choriomeningitis), and even diseases that are borne from other parasites. This can include diseases spread by ticks, spread by mice: Colorado tick fever, lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, typhus, and more.
As well as disease, mice are terribly destructive in terms of chewing. They will chew in a number of ways, in a number of locations, for a number of reasons.
Mice will chew through a cardboard box and a plastic bag to get to the cereal inside. They will also use some of that chewed material, such as the cardboard box, to create a comfortable, safe, and sturdy nest for rearing pups. For the same nest-building reasons, mice will chew through your clothes, soft furnishings, wood, paper, photographs, plastics, and virtually every other material they come into contact with.
Mice will also chew to get inside a building, causing small holes that eventually lead to bigger holes. In turn, these holes can attract rats, and both rats and mice will attract snakes and other predatory pest animals.
The only way to make sure that your property is 100% mouse-proof is to seal it 100%. This means inspecting it and keeping your eyes open for any signs of damage that could allow a small rodent to squeeze through. Mice only need a hole that is roughly the same size as your wedding ring in order to squeeze through, and if they can't fit through it right now, they'll simply chew and scratch at it until they can.
As well as that, keeping the place clean and tidy is a great way to keep all nuisance wildlife problems to a minimum, as well as eradicating food sources.
If you are considering hiring a company that uses poison as an approach to rodent control and removal, we urge you to reconsider. Poison is just not effective when dealing with rodents, or other animal nuisance animals, and it often creates many more problems than what you were originally dealing with.
Secondary poisoning, killing pets, livestock, and other wildlife, is a very common occurrence when rodent poison has been used to get rid of mice and rats, and it has also been known to affect water sources, soil, and even growing plants.
We use traps to control and remove mouse populations, while at the same time sealing up the building that the rodents were infesting using hardy and strong materials that are tough enough to withstand a chewing, hungry rodent.
Snap traps are the best option, killing the animal and keeping it relatively neatly contained to one place. Poisoned rats often run around for a while before actually dying, and you'll never know where the dead carcass ends up … until it starts smelling and attracting flies and other rodents and then you need to go looking for it.
1 - Mice eat around 15 to 20 times per day, which is they choose to create a nest in close proximity to food. Although mostly nocturnal, they will become active at various points throughout the day to feed, socialize, groom, etc.
2 - House mice don't actually have the best vision. They are only thought to be able to see approximately 6 inches in front of them, and they don't see colors. Thankfully, they've got a very good sense of smell to make up for it.
3 - Mice can swim very well, although they'd much rather stay out of the water, if possible.
To learn more about mice, see: