All About Rodents: The Deer Mouse

deer mouseThe deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus, is a small rodent that can be found all over North America. These very proficient jumpers and runners got their name due to their agility. They are considered to be dangerous because they spread the deadly Hantavirus and Lyme disease, which can infect humans through contact with the rodent’s urine, feces, or saliva. A deer mouse prefer forests, agricultural crops, and grasslands, but it can also be found in urban areas if surrounded by suitable habitats. Learning about specific species of mice is important to successful mouse control and prevention.

Identifying a Deer Mouse

This small mouse is only three or four inches long, with a tale of comparable length. It is easy to differentiate them from the common house mouse because deer mice have relatively larger eyes and two-tone coloring. The darker colors are on their back, while the abdominal area is a much lighter color. They are often confused with the white-footed mouse, since both species have lower parts of the body and feet that are white, but there are some external characteristics which can help you tell them apart. The deer mouse is recognizable for the following features:

  • Soft fur, gray on the upper parts of the body.
  • The tail is dark above and white below, with white hair on the top.
  • A uniformly colored back, sometimes with a darker stripe along the middle.

Deer Mouse Behavior

The deer mouse is a nocturnal creature, so it usually spends the daytime in its nest. They nest in the ground, in stumps, and rotting logs. When in a house, they prefer basements, attics, and other dark places. They usually nest in homes during the colder months, and they do so in search of warm places to survive the winter since they don’t hibernate. Nests are constructed of paper, seeds, fur, and weeds. The diet of a deer mouse mostly consists of fungi, fruits, and seeds, but they also eat insects, earthworms, and snails. They can live for up to two years in the wild.

Deer Mouse Reproduction

The deer mouse breeding season is from March through October. Females become sexually mature at 35–60 days of age. They produce two to four litters a year with five to six pups in each litter on average, usually during warmer months.

Signs of a Deer Mouse Infestation

Deer mice damage furniture, clothing, paper, and other materials while constructing their nests. When they aren’t kept under control, deer mice can be dangerous. Their droppings are smooth, 3 to 6 mm long and with pointed ends. They can easily be confused with the droppings of a house mouse, so deal with them carefully. When cleaning their droppings, the use of approved face masks and gloves is highly advisable since you can otherwise get infected. Also, don’t vacuum the droppings since they may release the Hantavirus into the air.

Deer Mouse Prevention

Preventive measures must be taken in order to ensure that your home doesn’t become host to deer mice population. All holes and crevices must be sealed even if they are only the size of a dime. Keep the grass mowed and remove any clutter from the yard. This kind of mice control is just a preventive method. If you are battling a current deer mouse infestation, due to how dangerous these small rodents can be, we advise contacting a pest control professional immediately to help get rid of the mice in your home.

Proudly serving the greater Chicagoland area in Illinois and southeast Wisconsin, the professional exterminators at Aerex Pest Control understand the habits of different mice and use that knowledge when developing a mouse control program that is best suited to your home and your particular problem. Our technicians are professional, state certified, licensed applicators. Call today for your free consultation 847-255-8888 or click here for a free quick quote.

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