The House Mouse has grey-brown fur with a tail about 80% of the length of its head and body. As it is much smaller the House Mouse should not be confused with the common Rat. The young rat will also have a larger head and larger feet in proportion to its body size and its tail will be noticeably thicker. Although the house mouse is mainly a house dweller, it can live outdoors for part or all of the year.
Mice live in cavity walls, roof spaces and below floorboards and can move easily between attached dwellings. Mice are colour blind and rely upon touch and smell to negotiate moving about. House mice will burrow in soil when living outdoors and when no other harbourage is available. They are also good climbers and can climb vertical surfaces when walls are sufficiently rough. They tend to avoid wet conditions but they are capable of swimming if necessary.
As mouse’s teeth grow continually, they gnaw a range of materials to keep teeth worn down. ie. electrical cables, skirting boards, food packaging.
Mice are sexually mature at 8-12 weeks. After mating pregnancy lasts 17-20 days and averages
5-6 young in a litter.
Signs of Infestation
Sightings of Mice. Hearing mouse activity - especially at night, eg in between floorboards & Roof voids. Presence of droppings - typically 3-7 mm in length (approximate size of a grain of rice) usually black in colour and often spindle shaped. A stale musty smell - usually present when an infestation is long standing. Foot prints and tail swipes on dusty surfaces. Holes – gnawed in skirting boards, food packaging etc.
Mice often destroy much more than they consume because of their wasteful habit of discarding partially eaten food and because of contamination by their faeces, urine and hairs. They can also cause damage to electrical wiring due to gnawing. To prevent mice from infesting your property:
- Inspect your property ensuring that there are no obvious entry holes for mice to gain access into your home ie. around waste pipes from kitchens/bathrooms, central heating pipes and air vents. If holes are present seal them up with a durable material.
- Keep doors closed, especially in winter and spring.
- Remove all food sources in the home by placing food in a pest proof cupboard and putting food in tightly fitting containers.