House Mice

Latin Name:

Mus musculus

Appearance:

House mice are covered in short hair that is light brown or gray to black in color, with lighter bellies. Their ears and tail also bear hair, although much less than their bodies. Adult mice weigh approximately 40 grams and can grow up to eight inches from the nose to the tip of the tail.

They are small and slender, three to four inches long, with large ears, small eyes and pointed nose. Light brown or light gray. Droppings are rod-shaped.

Habit:

House mice are nocturnal and build nests in sheltered locations; usually nests within structures and burrows. Establish a “territory” near food sources that are generally 10 to 30 feet from nest. Inquisitive, but very wary. Excellent climbers.

They are extremely territorial. Males may be aggressive, while females tend to remain in the nest, protecting their young.

Diet:

Omnivorous, but prefers cereal grains.

Reproduction:

Prolific breeders by two months of age. Can have litters as often as every 40 or 50 days, with four to seven young per litter. Live up to one year.

House Mouse Information

The house mouse is remarkably well-adapted for living year-round in homes, food establishments and other structures. Homeowners are especially likely to notice mice during winter, following their fall migration indoors in search of warmth, food and shelter. Once mice become established inside a home, they can be extremely difficult to control.

Although most people consider mice less objectionable than rats, mice are more common and cause significantly more damage. Mice are prolific breeders, producing six to ten litters continuously throughout the year. The greatest economic loss from mice is not due to how much they eat, but what must be thrown out because of damage or contamination. Food, clothing, furniture, books and many other household items are contaminated by their droppings and urine, or damaged by their gnawing. House mice gnaw through electrical wiring causing fires and failure of freezers, clothes dryers and other appliances. Mice also can transmit diseases, most notably salmonellosis (bacterial food poisoning) when food is contaminated with infected rodent feces. Other diseases include rickettsialpox, lymphocytic choriomenigitis, leptospirisis, ratbite fever, tularemia, Lyme disease and dermatitis caused by the bites of mites from the mice. Hantavirus (pulmonary syndrome) is another danger becoming more common.

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