Common Mouse Species

There are many different species of mice in the United States. The four most common mouse species found in the Western United States are the following:

If you see any type of mouse in your home or business, there is a good chance there are more to be found. Give us a call or send us a message to have one of our specialists come out to survey the property.

Deer Mouse

(Peromyscus maniculatus)

Deer mice are common along the west coast from Mexico to the Northwest territories of Canada. They may also be referred to as field mice.

deer mouse

What they look like

  • Adults range in size from 4 to 9 inches, including the tail
  • Long bi-colored tails are covered in very short hair
  • Fur can be pale gray to deep red on the head and back, and is white on the belly
  • Hind feet have 6 pads each

Lifecycle

  • Gestation period is 21-24 days
  • 3-5 mice per litter
  • 2-4 litters per year
  • Lifespan of 2-24 months due to high predation

Behavior

  • Nocturnal creatures - come out at night to find food
  • Excellent climbers
  • Seek shelter inside during colder months, especially in wall voids, small places in attics or basements and even inside stuffed furniture
  • A primary carrier of the hantavirus, which leads to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in humans
  • Commonly found near structures that border wooded areas

House Mouse

(Mus musculus)

House mice are active all year round, which means you could find them invading your home or business at any time.

House Mouse

What they look like

  • House mice range from 5-8 inches in length, including the tail
  • They weigh only .5-1 oz.
  • House mouse fur is usually a dusty gray on top and a light gray or cream on the stomach
  • The muzzle is pointed and eyes are small
  • Their tails are scaly and mostly naked

Lifecycle

  • Approximately 35 days from birth to sexual maturity
  • Gestation period is 18-21 days
  • Litter size ranges from 5-8
  • 8 litters per year
  • Life expectancy is less than 1 year

Behavior

  • Usually live on the ground or in burrows, but can climb
  • Very inquisitive - will explore anything new or changed
  • Only eat small amounts of food at a time
  • Main feeding periods are at dusk and right before dawn

Western Harvest Mouse

(Reithrodontomys megalotis)

The Western Harvest Mouse can be found in along the western border of North America, from southwestern Canada through California and Arizona, down into Mexico.

harvest mouse

What they look like

  • The Western Harvest Mouse ranges from 6-9 inches in length, including the tail
  • The long tail is as long as the head and body combined, with a dark stripe down on top
  • The fur is soft and brown in color, and lighter in color on the belly and feet
  • Their ears are large and hairless
  • They have a groove on the surface of their incisors

Lifecycle

  • Gestation period is 24 days
  • 2-9 young per litter
  • Breeds throughout the year, with the exception of deep winter
  • Lifespan is rarely over 1 year

Behavior

  • Primarily a nocturnal creature
  • Spherical nests are built on the ground or in low vegetation
  • Uses tunnels and runways of other small mammals
  • May congregate in communal nests
  • Eats seeds, plants, and insects

White-Footed Mouse

(Peromyscus leucopus)

While common in the eastern United States, the White-footed Mouse can be found in the west as well, weather-permitting. They are often found in wooded areas or places where it is warm and dry.

White-footed mouse

What they look like

  • White-footed mice are 5-8 inches in length, including the tail
  • They weigh 3/8-1 1/2 ounces
  • White-footed mouse fur ranges from grayish to reddish brown on the back and head and white on the belly and feet
  • The tail is covered in short hair
  • Hind feet have 6 pads each

Lifecycle

  • Gestation period is 21-24 days
  • 2-6 young per litter
  • 2-4 litters per year
  • Lifespan is generally 2-3 years in the wild

Behavior

  • Nocturnal creatures
  • Build nests in concealed locations
  • Will seek warmth in homes, garages, sheds, and infrequently used vehicles
  • Drums the front feet when alarmed
  • Primarily feeds on seeds, fruits, nuts, and insects

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