- Color: bi-colored; the upper portion of the body and tail is medium-to dark-brown; the underside of the tail, feet and stomach area is white.
- Size: the body is 2 3/4 to 4 inches long; the tail is 2 to 5 inches long.
- The eyes, ears and body of a deer mouse are slightly larger than those of the house mouse.
Habits of the Field Mouse or Deer Mouse:
- Females produce three to four litters, each with three to five young; populations can increase rapidly.
- They begin to breed at five to six weeks of age.
- Lifespan: 2 – 24 months.
- They are active year round with a range of activity from 1/2 to 3 acres.
- They often construct nests in hollow logs and tree stumps, under logs and stones, and occasionally in bird nests and shallow burrows.
- A typical diet consists of nuts, seeds, berries and insects, and often food is stored in their nests for the winter months.
- They are nocturnal and rarely seen in their outdoor habitat.
Damage Caused by Field Mouse or Deer Mouse:
- Occurs throughout the United States.
- Deer mice are rarely a major problem in residential areas; they are more of a problem in housing in rural and agricultural areas.
- This species gained national notoriety several years ago when public health officials determined that it was the principal rodent species associated with the transmission of the hantavirus. This virus, typically not found in the eastern U.S., is transmitted through the inhalation of particulate matter contaminated by the droppings and urine of infected mice. Disease mortality in humans is approximately 60 percent.
- In the fall and winter, deer mice frequently enter houses, garages and outbuildings, and occasionally campers and other infrequently-used vehicles. Once established in these areas, they can cause significant damage to furnishings and stored materials as they search for food and construct their nests.
- Damage and droppings which indicate deer mouse activity.
- Possible entry points such as holes no bigger than the diameter of a pencil.
How to Control and Kill Field Mouse or Deer Mouse:
- Mice should be excluded by sealing entry holes with 1/4 inch hardware cloth, sheet metal or metal wool.
- In some situations, perimeter trapping may prevent a population from becoming established indoors.
- Pet foods and other food products should not be stored in accessible areas such as garages.
- Water sources which also attract mice should be eliminated.
- Once deer mice take up residence indoors, baited and un-baited snap traps should be used to eliminate the population. Their inquisitive nature makes them easy to trap.
- Dead rodents and their nests and droppings should be removed immediately.