Mice are curious, agile little creatures that can be found in your home, garden or natural surroundings. When you spot mice nearby, you will probably have several questions and concerns.
In this article, our mouse exterminators explore key aspects of mouse identification and behavior so you can better understand their lifespan, basic needs and more.
Whether you’re faced with a mouse infestation or simply curious about these little creatures, this guide contains everything you need to know about the world of mice.
Physical traits of mice
The more you know about the appearance and characteristics of mice, the more easily you will be able to identify them and take appropriate action in the event of a mouse infestation.
How many species of mice are there?
Mice belong to the muridae family, and more specifically the Mus genus. You can find the following mice species in Quebec:
- House mouse or grey mouse
- Deer mouse
- Sitka mouse
- White-footed mouse or woodmouse
- Field mouse
There are other rodent species in Quebec, but mice are probably the most common.
How big are mice?
An adult mouse is generally between 7 and 10 centimetres long from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. The tail itself can measure another 7 to 10 centimetres, making a total length of around 14 to 20 centimeters.
It should be noted that the size of mice can vary slightly depending on the species and certain environmental factors. House mice, for example, may be slightly larger than wild mice.
What do mice weigh?
A mouse’s weight can vary according to species, age and physical condition. On average, an adult male mouse weighs between 15 and 35 grams. Female mice average 30 grams.
Domestic mice, bred in captivity, can sometimes be heavier due to genetics and controlled feeding. Wild mice tend to be lighter, with an average weight of around 20 grams.
How many teeth do mice have?
An adult mouse generally has 16 teeth divided between the upper and lower jaws, some of which grow constantly. Mice have four incisors at the front of their mouths, two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw. Incisors are long, pointed teeth used for gnawing and biting.
Humans typically have 28 teeth, not counting wisdom teeth.
Why do mice gnaw all the time?
Oddly enough, a mouse’s teeth grow constantly at a rate of 0.3 millimetres per day. This relentless growth forces them to nibble constantly to control the length of their teeth.
Do mice have good vision?
Although they are not renowned for their sharp vision, mice do see enough to orient themselves and detect movement in their environment.
Unlike humans, mice can detect contrasts and movement but not much fine detail. They don’t see well at a distance and have a limited ability to distinguish colors. As nocturnal creatures, mice have sharper vision in the dark and do not see well in brighter conditions.
Life cycle of a mouse
Understanding the life cycle of mice is essential to gaining a better understanding of their behavior.
How long do mice live?
Wild mice have an average lifespan of 6 months to 1 year. Harsh living conditions, predation and other environmental factors contribute to a shorter lifespan.
Conversely, house mice tend to live longer than their wild counterparts. Pet mice can live on average between 1.5 and 3 years, but it’s not uncommon for them to reach 4 or even 5 years with proper care.
Life span of a mouse without food or water
Mice are hardy creatures that can survive for 2 to 4 days without water and 1 to 2 weeks without food.
How many mice are there in a colony?
Mice live in groups called colonies, which include up to 10 mice. Interestingly, a mouse colony will be “led” by either a dominant male or dominant female.
What is the gestation period for mice?
The mouse’s gestation period is between 19 and 21 days, and the female becomes fertile again from 5 hours to one day after the birth of her young. Each year, a mouse can give birth to more than 150 young.
How many mice are there in a litter?
Mice reproduce at an incredible rate. Mice reach sexual maturity as early as 2 months of age. From then on, they can give birth to a dozen babies every 3 weeks.
Can mice transmit diseases to humans?
Yes, mice can transmit diseases to humans. In proximity to humans, mice can carry and transmit a variety of potentially dangerous pathogens and bacteria. That’s why it’s important to keep mice away and take action as soon as you notice their presence.
Over time, mice have developed specific behaviors to adapt and survive in their environment.
Do mice hibernate?
Mice don’t hibernate. But as winter approaches, they tend to enter homes to get warm and forage for food, which is harder to find during the cold season. To prevent mice from intruding during the winter months, make sure you take proper pest control measures.
Why do mice scratch?
The scratching noises that mice make (especially at night) are caused by digging or gnawing.
Do mice squeak?
Mice squeak to communicate with other mice, especially to express their emotions. In fact, squeaking is their primary language.
If you hear a mouse squeaking, it means there are other mice around and they are communicating with one another.
When are mice most active?
Mice are mainly nocturnal. Because of their poor vision, they navigate using their senses of smell, hearing and touch. They also rely on their highly-sensitive whiskers.
What mice can do
Now that you are familiar with mouse behavior, let’s take a look at their natural abilities. The remarkable skills mice possess are impressive, but are also the key to why they can invade human territory so effectively.
Can mice climb?
Mice are excellent climbers. They can even climb flat walls with rough surfaces, such as wood or concrete. Mice can also climb wires and ropes, like real little acrobats.
Can mice jump?
Even though they’re tiny, mice can jump to surprising heights, approaching 30 centimetres.
Can mice swim?
Yes, mice can swim, although this is not their preferred mode of travel. If necessary, a mouse can swim for 3 days straight! And amazingly, mice can hold their breath for up to 3 minutes underwater, far longer than most humans.
Mice feeding habits
Keep reading to discover the fascinating details of how, when and what mice eat on their perpetual quest for survival.
What do mice eat?
Mice are omnivores. They can survive on a varied diet of fruit, vegetables and meat. Grains, peanut butter and barbecue sauce are all on their list of favorite foods – you have plenty of options when choosing bait.
How much food do mice need?
Typically, a mouse ingests 3 to 5 grams of food per day. They feed 15 to 20 times a day, eating 0.15 grams at a time. Mice are constantly on the move in search of food, and will usually build their nests close to a food source.
Do mice like cheese?
This is a myth! Mice aren’t really fans of cheese. They do like it, but no more than any other foods in their diet.
Mice: there’s so much to learn and discover!
We’ve covered a wide range of information on mice, from their physical description to their behaviors, skills, vision, lifespan, and eating habits. Mice are fascinating creatures, with amazing abilities that help them survive and thrive in various environments.
However, it’s important to remember that the presence of mice in your living space can pose many problems, from property damage to health risks. Mice can gnaw on electrical wiring, furniture and insulation, and can contaminate surfaces with their droppings and urine. They can also transmit diseases that are potentially dangerous to humans.
If you’re experiencing problems with mice in your home, business or work environment, it’s crucial to take steps to eliminate them effectively and for the long term. The pest control professionals at Elite Pest Control have the knowledge, skills and tools to eradicate mouse infestations safely and professionally. Contact us now to get rid of pests!