The House Mouse in PA & NJ

House mice are found throughout New Jersey.  They can invade our home at any time of the year but late fall and winter are the most common months to deal with a mouse and rodent infestation.  Mice enter our home in search of the things they need to survive:  food, water and shelter.  The National Pest Management Association estimates that 21 million homes in the United States are infested by mice and other rodents each winter.

Identifying house mice

The house mouse is known also as the common house mouse and domestic house mouse. Their body is small, pear shaped, and slender. They’re about 2 to 3 and a half inches long and average around 0.5 to 1 ounce in weight. These mice are generally grayish-brown and have a light cream color on their underside. Their tail is 3 to 4 inches long, semi-naked and longer than the head and body combined. These mice are found throughout the United States and south of the boreal forest in Canada.

The house mouse has a slightly pointed nose and small eyes that are somewhat protruding. These mice are color blind and can only recognize objects up to 10 feet away. Their ears are relatively large for its size. They hear very well in both sonic and ultrasonic ranges. Their gnaw pattern is less than 1/16th inch. House mice have whiskers on their face and guard hairs on the sides and back to help stay safely against walls, under objects, and in burrows, due to their poor eyesight. Whiskers are also used to detect motion and test surfaces before they step on them.

Identifying house mouse droppings

You are most likely to notice a mouse infestation in your home by finding their droppings.  The droppings from a house mouse are about 1/4 inch or less in length. Fresh droppings are soft and dark in color. A house mouse averages about 50 droppings per day. House mice are omnivores and eat seeds (preferred food), cereal grains, fruits, vegetables and meats. Mice frequent many feeding sites sometimes as often as 20 to 30 a day during their active period, eating small amounts of food from each site. They generally consume about 1/10 of an ounce of food daily. Water is not essential to their survival if the food they’re eating contains at least 16% moisture.

Common house mouse abilities

These mice are excellent climbers and can be found throughout cultivated fields, at or below ground level, or all the way in the upper stories of skyscrapers. Mice explore their limited home range of less than 30 feet daily for newly introduced objects. They’re nocturnal so most activity and feeding takes place between a half hour after sunset and a half hour before sunrise. The common house mouse has a strong social hierarchy, is able to swim, can survive an 8 foot fall onto a hard surface and travels at 12 feet per second.

 

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