Identification, Facts, & Control

Latin Name

Mus musculus


House Mouse.jpg 6" to 7 1/2" yellowish-brown and black on back with ash gray belly


The House Mouse (Mus musculus) is also known as the common mouse. This is the same species breed for "fancy mice" pets. The House Mouse is colored mixed yellowish-brown and black on back with ash gray belly. It has a Tail equal to or slightly longer than combined length of head and body. The under side of the tail is lightly lighter than the top. The House Mouse has an average body shape, it is neither broad nor slender. Its Ears are fairly large for its body and they have a bare appearance. The House Mouse's Feet have four toes on front paws and five on back. The feet are generally less than 1/2in from heel to longest toe. The female has 10 mammary glands. House Mice have a notch on inside of upper front teeth. They Weight, 1/2 to 3/4 ounce and are 6 to 7 1/2in from the tip of nose to end of tail.

Life Cycle

House Mice females breed at about the age of six weeks. Gestation period is about 17 days and litters average about 5 or 6 young. Individual captive females have produced as many as 100 young in a year. Activity phases are similar to those of the rat but are accelerated.


Mouse senses are the same as most rodents.
  • Sight: Apparently motion is quickly detected, depth perception is good, and variations in light intensity are recognized. Other details of vision are probably relatively poor.
  • Smell: Sense of smell is very well developed.
  • Taste: Sense of taste is probably not as well defined as it is in man.
  • Hearing: Hearing is well developed; sources of sounds are accurately located.
  • Touch: Sense of touch is quite highly developed. Vibrassae (long stiff hairs extending from the nose) are sensitive feelers on which the rodent relies for contact with its surroundings. Active hairs distributed through-out the fur serve a similar purpose. The nose is very sensitive to touch and is carefully protected.
  • Balance: Sense of balance is very well developed.

Physical Abilities

  • Gnawing: Mouse incisor teeth are very efficient cutting tools. Mice must gnaw to keep the incisor teeth, short enough to be useful. They can gnaw through many things but not wuite as hard materials as rats.
  • Burrowing: Mice live in burrows in nature

Behavior Patterns

Food & Water Habits
Mice develop regular habits in eating. They transport their food to harborage for consumption when possible. Mice require 1/8th to 1/4 ounce of dry food per 24 hour period. Mice do not require water if their food has enough water content but, they will drink if it is available.

Mice can be very curious and will attract to strange or new objects.

Mice build nests wherever security and food are available. .

Nocturnal Activity
Mice are primarily nocturnal foragers, but will move about during the daylight under pressure of hunger, thirst, fear, or anger. They will also be active during the daylight hours if their fears of men and predatory animals have been allayed by previously undisturbed forays.

Home Range
Home ranges of mice depend on a number of factors such as the nearness of food and places of harborage, quantity of food available, presence or absence of hazards, etc. Experiments conducted in Baltimore indicate that mice range over a smaller distance from their homes than do rats, usually not more than 20 feet.

Travel Routes
Mice are inclined to establish regular routes which are as well protected as possible. They will make every effort to maintain contact with a vertical surface through their vibrissae on one side and preferable on both sides.

Mass migrations sometimes occur, presumably caused by crop failures, floods, etc.

How To Control House Mice

Glue board traps and mutiple catch traps are effective in trapping mice but not rats. This is due to the mouse behavioral trait of attraction to new or intresting objects.Also, many times trap exageration works to your benefit

The most common place to set traps in any type of structure is along the walls, especially behind storage bins. Always place traps with the trigger end towards the wall. Place traps at least 6-10 feet apart and always use a sufficient amount of bait in the traps. Always use locked, tamper resistant bait stations in a residence. Monitor the consumption of rodent bait taken in bait stations at least weekly and relocating them after three weeks if there are no signs of acceptance.

Sanitation and exclusion are non—chemical types of control measures. Sealing all small holes or entrances to a structure along with trimming back excess foliage is a good start to control by exclusion. After a rodent control program has been established, the elimination of harborages should be sought in order to maintain treatment effectiveness.

Signs of Mice Infestation

  • Droppings: Droppings are the most constant and earliest observed signs of infestation. Number, freshness, and size of droppings indicate the extent of the infestation. Droppings are found in secluded corners, harborages, and runways.
  • Tracks: Tracks are distinctive and easily recognized; they resemble hand prints. The back feet have five toes and the front have four. Tail marks appear as wavy lines on dusty surfaces.
  • Gnawings: Mice gnaw to gain access to food and harborage, and to shorten their incisor teeth. Fresh gnawings on wood can be distinguished by the light color of the newly exposed wood. The extent of the damage from gnawing gives an indication of the degree of the infestation. Also, rubber shavings found during an inspection are the result of Mice gnawings.
  • Burrows: Burrows are easily observed along the walls of buildings, in dirt floors of buildings, embankments, fills, under bushes and brush, etc.
  • Other Signs: Other signs of rat infestation less frequently observed include urine stains, the use of a black light will highlight the urine tracks to show rodent pathways./li>

Other Mice Control Information:
  • Mice are still cautious but, less than rats, and will typically forage 20 feet for food and water.
  • Mice have 1/8" rod shaped droppings with pointed ends.
  • 1/4" maximum sized openings will exclude mice from a structure. Mouse proofing should include sealing all holes 1/4" or larger in diameter and cover vents with 1/4" mesh.
  • Since dead mice cause disagreeable odors and attract insects an operator using mechanical, wind-up mu1tiple-catch traps should regularly check for mice activity.
  • If an infestation of mice exists, but the number of mice trapped has decreased then the operator should monitor the infestation less frequently.
  • A current rodent infestation is characterized by hard droppings, tracks, and a sweet musty odor.
  • Traps for rodents should be placed in rodent runways and the owner should be consulted for bait preference.
  • Perhaps the most ineffective place to place traps would be in a location where there are constant mechanical vibrations and noises.
  • Tamper-resistant bait stations should be placed in any location in the structure for controlling rodents with the exception of locations near pets and children.
  • Black lights are used to reveal rodent urine during the inspection of commercial buildings.
  • Anticoagulant rodenticides affect a rodent by interruption of clotting ability.
  • Zinc phosphate is a good rodenticide to use that acts as an acute poison.
  • Bait stations should be placed every 30 feet.
  • An effective way to monitor the consumption of rodent bait placed in stations is by checking once per week and relocating bait after three weeks if undisturbed.
  • Rodenticides should be removed after the termination of the service.
  • It is crucial that rodent baits are kept away from any exposure to non-target species.

Click on a species of rodents below to learn further information.