House Mice

Mus Domesticus
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What do mice look like?

house mouse inside box in tucson az home

In Arizona, the house mouse is approximately 2-4 inches in length and has an equally long tail. They are grayish-brown rodents with gray or buff bellies and moderately sized ears. House mice typically weigh .5 to 1 ounce.

Life cycle of the house mouse

Live Young

Mice may breed year round indoors producing 5-10 litters compared to outdoors where they breed less often. After an 18 to 21 day gestation period, the female delivers a litter of 2-13 young. The young are naked and have their eyes closed. After 2 weeks, they are covered with fur and their eyes and ears are open. They begin to make short trips from the nest foraging for food. At 6-10 weeks they are sexually mature. The nest is often shared.  Mice will travel 10-30 feet or more from their nest when searching for food or water. They can live long periods without water obtaining water from their food sources.

Habits of house mice

  • Diet: Seeds. They are erratic feeders taking small bits at a time from different areas. Consume about 10% of their body weight per day.
  • Activity: Nocturnal especially the time following sunset and prior to sunup.
  • Preferred Climate: Depends on species but prefer constant temperatures found indoors.
  • Defense: Speed and size. Rely on smells and pheromones.
  • Cautions: Rapidly reproduces
  • Home Invasion: House mice will nest in secluded areas within a structure or in the ground near structures or food sites.

Are house mice dangerous?

Hantavirus is a virus found in rodent urine, saliva and feces. It will infect lungs and can cause HPS (Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome). The first symptoms will begin about two weeks after exposure to mice and will include:

  • high fever
  • body aches
  • chills
  • trouble breathing
  • abdominal pain
  • lower back pain

A couple of days after these symptoms start, severe respiratory distress will begin and lungs will shut down. HPS is very serious but with advanced medical care, most people do survive the infection.

Additionally, mice are capable of introducing other illness and may cause damage to the structure and the belongings. 

Where do mice nest?

Outside, these small rodents will nest in woodpiles, debris, trees, and dense vegetation or overgrowth. Inside homes and businesses, they nest in wall voids, storage areas, and in the attic as well as behind heat sources and close to food sources. 

Helpful hints for house mice

In order to keep your home or business free of mice, we recommend implementing good sanitation practices and hiring a pest control company that specializes in rodent control. 

Interesting facts about house mice

Mice detect new items placed in their pathways but, unlike rats, they do not shy away from these items.

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