- Color: gray.
- Size: the body is 3-4 inches long and the tail 3-4 inches long.
- Adults weigh 1/2 to 1 ounce.
- Pointed muzzle; large ears; small eyes and body; generally the house mouse is slightly smaller than the deer mouse Adult droppings are 1/8 to 1/4 inch long and rod-shaped with pointed ends.
Habits of the House Mouse:
- Females average eight litters per year, each of which averages six young. Typically females produce 30-35 weaned mice per year, thus populations increase rapidly.
- Life span: one year.
- They are good climbers, jump up 12 inches and down from eight feet.
- They easily squeeze through holes and gaps wider than 1/4 inch.
- They are very social in their behavior, inquisitive about things in their environment, and readily explore anything new.
- They prefer to nest in dark secluded areas where there is little chance of disturbance and in areas where nesting materials, e.g., paper, cardboard, attic insulation, cotton, etc., are readily available.
- Foraging territories are small, usually no more than 20 feet, however, if abundant food is nearby, they nest within four to five feet. Their two main feeding periods are at dusk and just before dawn.
Damage Caused by House Mice:
- The major health risks associated with house mice are salmonella contamination and leptospirosis.
- The house mouse is the most common and economically important commensal (i.e., living in close association with humans) rodent.
- They nibble on food, preferring such items as seeds and cereals.
- Signs of activity, e.g., droppings and rub marks; marks left by house mice, however, are less noticeable than those produced by rats.
How to Control and Kill House Mice:
- Entry holes should be sealed with 1/4 inch hardware cloth, sheet metal, or metal wool. Special attention should be paid to any hole which approximates the diameter of a pencil.
- Pet foods and other food products should not be stored in accessible areas, e.g., garages.
- Water sources which also attract mice should be eliminated.
- In houses, house mice can be effectively controlled by using baited and un-baited snap traps. Traps can be baited with nesting materials, e.g., cotton, string, dental floss, etc., or fruit, vegetables, and seeds. The inquisitive nature of mice makes them easy to trap so periodically moving the traps increases success.