Common Mouse Species

There are many different types of mice present in Canada.

The top 2 species considered to be a major pest in this country are the House Mouse and Field Mouse.

Deer Mouse

(Peromyscus maniculatus)

Deer Mice are pests that prefer to live in wooded areas. They will, however, venture into homes, sheds and outbuildings located in or around wooded areas. They can be destructive to wood structures as well as carrying with them a number of potential health concerns.

Appearance

  • Size: adult head and body 2 ¾-4” in length; Tail 2-5".
  • Weight: About ⅜ - 1 ¼ oz.
  • Pale grayish, buff coloring to reddish brown on top and side. White fur on the belly.
  • The tail is usually bi-colored and is very long, longer than half the length of the body and covered with short hair.

Lifecycle

  • Deer mice usually live between 2-14 months, but some in captivity have been known to live 5-8 years.
  • The female gestation period is usually 21-24 days and females have 3-5 young with each litter. They also have 2-4 litters per year.
  • The young will reach sexual maturity in 7-8 weeks.

Habits

  • Deer mice are nocturnal, coming out at night to find food.
  • They are excellent climbers and will be found in even upper levels of structures like in attics and upper floors.
  • During colder months deer mice will seek shelter inside and will enter buildings during that time.
  • Deer mice are one of the leading carriers of the hantavirus, which can be very dangerous to humans.

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, Mus musculus

Appearance

  • Size: 70 – 95mm in length, with a tail around the same length.
  • Weight: 12 – 30g.
  • Their relatively small feet & head and large eyes & ears distinguish them from a young brown rat (Rattus norvegicus).

Lifecycle

  • 4 – 16 young per litter; 7 – 8 litters a year.
  • Gestation period of about 3 weeks.
  • 8 – 12 weeks from birth to sexual maturity.

Habits

  • Usually ground living and burrowing, but often climbs.
  • Preferred food is cereals.
  • Will eat around 3g of food a day and can survive without any additional water. They will drink up to 3ml a day if their diet is particularly dry.

Field Mouse

(Apodemus sylvaticus)

Field mice rarely venture into inhabited buildings but in the winter months, they will enter sheds and other backyard structures where fruit and vegetables are stored.

Field mice are a big threat to businesses operating in farming and agriculture.

Appearance

  • Size: adult head and body 80 – 100mm in length; Tail 70 – 90mm.
  • Weight: Male can weigh 25g, and the female 20g.
  • Sandy / orange brown fur on the head and back.
  • Yellowish fur on the flanks and white on the belly.
  • There is usually a small streak of yellow on the chest.

Lifecycle

  • Their life span averages two to three months, but they can survive as much as 20 months in the wild, or two or more years in captivity.
  • Breeding seasons are March/April to October/November and gestation lasts approximately 25 days. They grow their first fur after six days; their eyes open after 16; and they are weaned at around 18 days old.
  • Survival of the young and adults is poor during the first half of the breeding season as adult males can be aggressive towards one another and to the young, who are then driven from the nest.

Habits

  • They eat a high proportion of the seed crop of trees such as oak, beech, ash, lime, hawthorn and sycamore.
  • Small snails and insects are particularly important sources of food in late spring and early summer when seeds are less available.
  • They also eat apples and will attack newly planted legume seeds.

White-Footed Mouse

(Peromyscus leucopus)

The White-footed Mouse can be found in parts of southern Canada.

White-Footed Mouse, Peromyscus leucopus

Appearance

  • The White-footed Mouse is a relatively small rodent with a combined head and body measurement of just 3.5 to 4 inches.
  • Not surprisingly, the feet are white and so is the belly. Upper parts of their body are grayish to reddish-brown and the tail is the same two colors.

Habits

  • Homes located near forests and brushlands, or bordering agricultural lands, may be at risk from this rodent.

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