Mouse sneaking in a house

Mice

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Deer Mouse

deer-mouse-bug-book

Color

Bi-colored, like Shamu. Only smaller. They have a white belly and throat, and are pale gray/buff to deep red/brown above. Young are gray above with white below.

Characteristics

Whale of a tail – their tails are always sharply bicolored, and more than half their head and body length put together. Hind feet have six pads each. Ears are large and bulging.

Where Found

Common in rural areas of western U.S., from Mexico to the Yukon and Northwest territories of Canada. In eastern U.S., from Hudson Bay to Pennsylvania, southern Appalachians, Arkansas, and Texas.

Habitat

Outside, they either move in or make their own home in burrows. Their favorite pieces of real estate are tree hollows, old fence posts, log piles, and abandoned nests and burrows. Inside, they live in wall voids, corners, small places in basements and attics, storage boxes, and stuffed furniture. Their home range is a roomy ½ – 3 acres, with up to 10-15 deer mice per acre in summer.

Food

Share similarities with deer; includes seeds, nuts, berries, fruits, underground fungus and insects. Deer mice also have the foresight to store food away for winter.

Biology

Deer mice begin breeding at only 5-6 weeks old and give birth from early March through November. Gestation period is 21-24 days, and there are up to 4 litters a year, with 2-7 young per litter.

Damage

Deer mice aren't so bad after all. They're actually a vital member of the forest community. This is because they disperse seeds, which are food for other animals. When it gets cold outside, they seek shelter in garages, sheds, stored vehicles, and homes bordering wooded areas. They may get into stored food or nest in furniture. The worst thing is that they are primary carriers of hantavirus, similar to the flu, which is transmitted mainly by sniffing dust particles contaminated with the urine or feces of infested mice.

Invasion

Talk about a tight squeeze. These mice can pass through a hole the diameter of a pencil. They're also excellent climbers. They are nature lovers, so are not usually found in cities or suburban areas, except those bordering parks or other wooded areas.

Good Riddance

When dealing with this species of rodent, use care when cleaning up old evidence of droppings or urine, as they have been associated with hantavirus. Consult the C.D.C. (Center of Disease Control) website for information on hantavirus. Overall, the key to control rodents includes sanitation, elimination of their shelter, and rodent-proofing the structure. Cleaning up spillage will enhance the chances of rodents visiting control measures. Getting rid of rodent evidence allows monitoring of the population control, while removing clutter and excess storage allows the setting of control measures and monitoring for population decrease. Exclusion is an important aspect of rodent control in structures. Most rodent problems are a result of indigenous species seeking food and shelter in our homes or businesses. Rodents also have an advantage; they can "flatten" their bodies to fit through openings (¼ inch for mice). A thorough inspection is important to identify entry points and to repair them, and is the only way to achieve long-term control in areas where this rodent is indigenous.

Once the entry points have been repaired, use of mechanical trapping devices is recommended. We do not recommend the use of rodenticides inside residential properties. When using any rodenticide, read the entire label prior to use. Follow all label instructions, restrictions and precautions.