Why are mice a problem?
The humble mouse might seem like a harmless creature. But left to run wild, mice are likely to cause considerable damage. Their tendency to gnaw through electrical cables can lead to power supply failure or dangerous electrical fires. Mice also chew through cardboard and wooden boxes – potentially damaging anything from clothes stored in a loft to pallets of stock stored in a warehouse.
They contaminate everything they encounter with droppings, urine and hairs.
One solitary mouse might seem cute, but mice are not solitary animals, just because you only see one does not mean there are not others. Mice breed
rapidly and it will not be long before 2 become many, with even more serious health consequences.
Why Mice Are A Problem
Mice carry diseases that can be transmitted to
man, including salmonellosis and tetanus. They
also carry parasites such as ticks, mites and
Mice cause structural damage through
gnawing, electrical wiring frequently being
attacked and presenting a serious fire risk. The
damage is often hidden away in walls and
under floors, making repairs difficult and
Mice damage growing crops and stored food.
They usually destroy more than they eat
because of their wasteful habit of discarding
partially eaten food and due to contamination
by their faeces, urine and hairs.
Food, clothing, bedding, furniture, books and
many other household items are contaminated
by their droppings and urine, or damaged by
The house mouse is omnivorous. Seeds are
the preferred food but mice also like foods high
in fat and protein such as butter, bacon, meat
and sweets. Mice feed at multiple sites, often
20-30 different sites each day, taking a small
amount of food at each. Mice do not travel far
from their nest, about 12 to 20 feet.
A typical mouse will consume about 3 gm of
food each day, about 10% of its body weight.
Mice prefer to live in buildings and other dry
areas often close to human food supplies. Mice
are nibblers. They do small amounts of
damage to many food items in the "home
range", rather than doing extensive damage to
any one item. They have two main feeding
periods, at dusk and just before dawn.
There is a definite social ranking among mice
that is linked to protection of individual
territories that are scent marked with urine.
Subordinate mice tend to feed and be sexually
active when the dominant males are inactive,
generally during the day. Unrelated males are
highly aggressive towards each other. Males
tend to have larger territories than females and
each mouse will travel its entire territory daily to
investigate any changes that may have
Mice have poor vision, hence their activity
patterns rely heavily on smell, taste, touch, and
hearing. Mice use the long sensitive whiskers
near the nose and hairs on the body as tactile
sensors. The whiskers and hairs enable the
mouse to travel in the dark, adjacent to walls in
Mice also have an excellent sense of balance,
enabling them to walk along telephone wires,
ropes and similar thin objects. They are
excellent jumpers, capable of leaping at least
12 inches vertically. Mice can jump against a
flat vertical surface using it as a spring board to
gain additional height.
They can run up almost any vertical surface;
wood, brick, weathered sheet metal, cables,
etc. They can easily travel for some distance
hanging upside down.
Although they are good swimmers, mice tend
to take to water only if left with no other
Mice are basically nocturnal in nature.
Mice do not have bladders, as a consequence
they urinate anywhere at any time.
Mice can enter a building through a hole as
small as 6mm in diameter.
Life Cycle Of A Mouse
Mice are prolific breeders and under ideal
conditions will breed year round. Mice begin to
breed at about 6 weeks of age and the female
will have an average of eight litters per year
each with an average of six pups. It is not
unusual for a female to be lactating and, at the
same time, be pregnant with a new litter. The
gestation period is 21 days. Pups are born
bald, deaf and blind. Their eyes open at around
3 days and they have fur by 10 days. House
mice have 5 pairs of nipples. Most mice live
anywhere from 15 to 18 months.
They make their nests out of the same types of
soft materials as rats, and as many as 3
females may use the same nest.