House mice range from 2.5-4 in. long and are typically varying shades of gray throughout their entire bodies. Their tails are usually the same length as their bodies, meaning some mice with have 4 in. long tails. Their eyes are small, round, and dark, and house mice have rounded ears which are large compared to their bodies. They can live in buildings and also outside near food. Although house mice don’t live longer than a year or two, they reproduce quickly with 5-7 pups per litter and up to 10 litters a year. This means that a property which starts off with a single pair of mice could have up to 72 mice within a year.
House mice eat a lot of cereal grains but will partake of whatever they can find. Their nests are close to a food source and are usually somewhere nearby but out of sight. House mice are nocturnal and eat shortly after sunset and before sunrise. Their droppings are distinctive and small with pointed ends. For most home and business owners, finding droppings is often the first sign of a mice infestation.
The second type of mouse is the deer mouse. Deer mice can live inside and outside a building and are attracted to areas where there is plentiful food. They often plague farmers and eat crops looking for sustenance. Deer mice range in color from red-brown to gold-brown with white bellies and feet. They are roughly 4 in. long with tails about half of the size of their bodies – usually 2-2.5 in. in length. Unlike house mice, deer mice have large eyes and ears with very little hair on them. Their bodies tend to be larger and they tend to curve their tails, giving them a distinctive characteristic that lets people tell them apart from the house mouse. They reproduce less often and have smaller litters, but can still have several dozen pups in a single year.
Deer mice eat insects and seeds more than anything else, but will also search for food inside of homes and businesses. They are nocturnal and will eat shortly after sunset and before sunrise. Like house mice, their feces are small, barely .25 in. long, and curved at both ends. This is often the first warning sign for property owners that mice are nearby.
Mice are a dangerous pest to have within a home or business. Like other rodents, mice can be conduits of disease because they carry bacteria, viruses, and other pests like fleas. Some of the most common diseases they spread are salmonellosis, leptospirosis, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, and lymphocytic chorio-meningitis. People do not need to touch the mice to contract these diseases. Instead, many people develop them from eating or drinking items which have been contaminated by mice urine or feces. Without treatment, these illnesses can lead to serious health concerns and might require hospitalization.
One of the best ways to eliminate mice is to contact a professional pest control company which can use a wide variety of methods to help remove the entire population. Professionals can use products like rodenticides and glue traps to poison or catch mice. Some can even capture the mice alive and move them to a different location. Many pest control professionals can additionally help home and business owners by mouse-proofing a home. They can eliminate entryways and explain proper sanitation and food storage so mice cease to be a problem. When it doubt, it’s best to keep the mice out.
Jose D. has been providing pest control solutions to North County San Diego residents since 2000!