- Latin Name: Mus musculus – house mouse, Peromyscus leucopus – white-footed mouse and Peromyscus maniculatus – deer mouse
- Size: Size varies based on species and ranges from 2” to 8” long.
- Color: Color varies based on the species. House mice are gray with a cream stomach. Deer mice are brown with white feet.
- Shape: Round furry body, four legs, a tail with or without fur and large ears
- Found in: All over the United States
- Overview: There are over 30 species of mice. The three most common types of mice are the house mouse, the white-footed mouse and the deer mouse.
Origin: Mice have been around since prehistoric time. They are thought to have originated in Asia.
Climate: Mice have adapted to all climates although they prefer to be indoors in the winter. Mice do not hibernate in the winter.
Favorite Foods: Mice eat small amounts frequently. They may eat up to 20 times a day. It is a common misconception that a mouse’s favorite food is cheese. Mice prefer grain, seeds and fruit. However, if their favorites are not available, they will eat anything they can find and will often hunt for food in the garbage. If food is unavailable, they will eat their own tails and may eat their young.
Family: A mouse will live a little less than a year. A female mouse may have up to ten litters during her life time.
Unique Facts: Mice have a similar composition as humans and are often times used in scientific research. A Russian space craft took 53 mice to space in 2013. A mouse can fit through a hole much smaller than his body, similar in size to a dime. Mice are excellent climbers and jumpers. A house mouse can jump a foot in the air. Mice are generally active at night. They have poor eye sight, but a great sense of smell. Hawks, eagles, snakes, foxes and cats are known for preying on mice. In some countries in Africa, humans eat mice as a delicacy.
Signs of a problem: Mice enter homes in the fall when the temperature begins to drop. Look for mice droppings, but be sure to only handle them with gloves and a face mask as they carry disease. Mice may make holes in the wall or the floor. A mouse will nest in quiet dark areas such as inside cabinets or drawers. Empty boxes in the basement also make excellent places to nest. The nest will be built with natural fibers like straw, cardboard, shredded paper, lint and anything else the mouse can find. House mice will also give out a musty odor.
Do they attack humans? Mice rarely bite, however if you are bitten, seek medical attention. Mice can be purchased at the pet store and are a common pet, but don’t be fooled, a wild mouse is not something you want in your house. Some species of mice are known to carry Hantavirus, which may lead to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome.
Stopping an infestation: Mice infestations are much more common than rat infestations because mice are smaller and able to fit through smaller openings. Make sure all openings near the foundation of your home and vents are sealed. Once you have found the presence of mice, bait or traps are the most common ways to eliminate them. Call a pest control professional to manage your mice problem.