Great Gray Owl Pest Control

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The house mouse, Mus musculus Linnaeus, is the common mouse found in homes. They are very similar to young black rats. The ears are large, the tail is as long as the head and body together, and the feet are short and broad. They are easily distinguished from small rats by their smaller eyes, smaller feet and smaller droppings.

Individuals living indoors are usually dark gray on the back and light gray on the belly while those living outdoors have bleached hair tips making them appear almost sandy or brown. Almost any color combination is possible and albino, black, and mixtures of black and white are bred in laboratories and sometimes seen in the wild.

Habits and Diet of Mice

Mice are gnawers or nibblers by nature and thus tend to make small holes or other slight damage in many places rather than a lot of damage at one place. The mouse has keen senses of touch, smell and hearing. It can run, climb, jump and swim very well although it cannot climb as well as most rats.

Their nests are made from almost any soft material chewed into small bits to make a soft bed. On occasion, mice have been found using a large community nest in which several females will raise their young at the same time.

Each litter contains  6 to 8 young that are blind and naked. They are weaned in about 3 weeks at which time they leave their mother. The mother is capable of breeding again in 3 to 6 weeks after bearing a litter and will usually average about 5 to 6 litters each year. The normal life span for a wild mouse is less than 1 year.

House mice eat the same food as humans including cereals, seeds, fruits and vegetables. They are especially fond of sweet liquids. Because they nibble, they may feed as often as 15 to 20 times each day consuming only a small amount of food each time. Mice can survive on extremely small amounts of water and this has led to the belief that they can live without water. The accuracy of this belief is questionable. It has been shown experimentally that they can survive on as little as 1 ml. per day. When kept under carefully controlled conditions in which there is no access to water, the mice are unable to survive. It has been established that their entire water requirements can be provided by moist food and free water is not necessary. 

Mice cause a great deal of damage to materials that they destroy and because of their habit of nibbling, they contaminate much of the material that they do not actually destroy. 

Mice can transmit diseases to humans. Rat-bite fever and Weil's Disease can be transmitted by mice, and the droppings of mice can carry the organisms that cause food poisoning. Murine typhus can be carried by their fleas, and rickettsialpox can be transmitted by a mite that lives on their bodies.

House mice are loners. Each male mouse stakes out a territory. In each territory there are one or more females, food and shelter. The male mouse does not willingly share his territory with another adult male. Mice travel short distances, often not more than 10 feet from their nest if food is close by or if there are many mice in the area. Mice become very familiar with their environment, and males patrol their territory at least once every 24 hours. When changes occur, they explore them immediately. Feeding habits of mice differ from rats, hence they are more quickly eliminated when we initiate a baiting program. Unlike rats, they are not suspicious of new foods and will readily sample them. Mice prefer to feed at night and are most active at dusk. Under continuous light, mice will be active during the quietest periods. If there is a lot of mice activity during the daytime, it indicates a very heavy infestation.

Identification of  Mice Infestation

Finding fresh droppings is often the first indication of a mouse infestation. Droppings are smooth and have pointed ends. Mouse nests are frequently found in and near their food supply. Holes gnawed by mice are usually small and clean cut rather than large and torn as they are when made by rats.


Good sanitation is essential for mouse control. Since mice require a constant food supply, ensure no food particles are left on the floor, on shelves or on counters and table tops. Keep all food in the refrigerator or in tightly sealed containers or 1/4-inch wire mesh bins.

Mouse Prevention

A mouse can enter an opening the size of a dime, or just over 1/4 inch. Buildings can be mouse-proofed by closing openings around pipes, doors, windows, holes in walls, and other vulnerable places. Mice can enter from the exterior or be introduced in the containers and boxes of purchased goods.