Common mouse species

Mice are nocturnal creatures and are rarely seen by humans. This can make the job of identification quite difficult. They often forage for food at night or during dusk, when most employees and customers have left for the day. If people do catch a sight of a mouse invader, it may only be for a split second and not long enough to identify the species.

Luckily, Rentokil’s rodent experts have the expertise and know-how to help with mouse identification, which will help to establish the right control method for your business.

Need help identifying which species of mouse is in your business? Call Rentokil at 800-837-5520.

There are some mouse species that are more commonly found indoors than others. There are certain characteristics you can look for, to help to identify the mice in your property. Alternatively, you may wish to learn more about the common signs of mice, which can also help to confirm if you do actually have a problem.

There are many different types of mice present in the U.S. The top 3 species considered to be major pests in this country are the house mouse, field mouse and white-footed mouse.

Deer Mouse

(Peromyscus maniculatus)

Deer mice are pests that prefer to live in wooded areas. They will, however, venture into homes, sheds and other buildings located in or around wooded areas. They can be destructive to wood structures as well as carriers of a number of potential health concerns.

Deer mouse

Appearance

  • Size: Adult head and body is 2 ¾ - 4” in length; tail is 2-5".
  • Weight: 0.38 - 1.25 oz.
  • Body: Pale grayish, buff coloring to reddish brown on top and side. White fur on the belly.
  • Tail: Usually bi-colored, very long, and covered with short hair.
Lifecycle and habits of the deer mouse

Lifecycle

  • Deer mice usually live between 2-14 months, but some in captivity have been known to live 5-8 years.
  • The female gestation period is usually 21-24 days.They have 2-4 litters per year, each with 3-5 young. 
  • The young mice will reach sexual maturity in 7-8 weeks.

Habits

  • Deer mice are nocturnal, coming out at night to find food.
  • They are excellent climbers and will be found in even upper levels of structures like in attics and upper floors.
  • During colder months, deer mice will seek shelter and warmth, often inside buildings.
  • Deer mice are one of the leading carriers of the hantavirus, which can be very dangerous to humans.

House Mouse

(Mus musculus)

House mice are active all year round, which means you could find them invading your business at any time.

House Mouse, Mus musculus

Appearance

  • Size: Body and tail are each 2 ¾ – 3 ¾ inches in length.
  • Weight: 0.42 – 1.06 oz
  • Body: Their relatively small feet and head, coupled with their large eyes and ears distinguish them from a young brown rat.
Lifecycle and habits of the house mouse

Lifecycle

  • House mice have 7-8 litters per year, each with 4-16 young.
  • The gestation period is about 3 weeks.
  • It takes house mice 8-12 weeks from birth to get to sexual maturity.

Habits

  • House mice will nest close to food sources.
  • Their preferred food is grains, fruits, and seeds.
  • They will eat around .1 oz. of food per day and can survive without any additional water. They will drink up to .1 fluid oz. per day if their diet is particularly dry.

White-Footed Mouse

(Peromyscus leucopus)

The White-footed mouse can be found in the U.S. from mid-Maine south to North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama and west to Montana, Colorado, and Arizona.

White-footed mouse

Appearance

  • Size: The white-footed mouse is a relatively small rodent with a combined head and body measurement of just 3 ½ - 4 inches.
  • Weight: These mice generally weigh around .75 oz.
  • Body: Not surprisingly, the feet are white and so is the belly. Upper parts of their body are grayish to reddish-brown and the tail is the same two colors.
Lifecycle and habits of the white-footed mouse

Lifecycle

  • White-footed mice have 2-4 litters per year, each with 2-6 young.
  • The gestation period is about 21-34 days.
  • It takes 10-11 weeks to get from birth to sexual maturity.

Habits

  • Buildings located near forests and brushlands, or bordering agricultural lands, may be at risk of invasion by white-footed mice.
  • White-footed mice are nocturnal creatures and build their nests in concealed areas.
  • They feed primarily on fruits, nuts, seeds, and small insects.
  • When they become frightened, white-footed mice will drum their front feet.

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