Do You Know the Difference Between…
House Mouse vs. Deer Mouse

Rodents are one of the most common pests that we deal with here in Wisconsin. In the fall, these small mammals frequently invade homes to try to find warm places to spend the winter. In fact, it is believed that up to 95% of homes have mice! Most of the time, homeowners are unaware that rodents are living in their attics and walls until these animals start to cause noticeable problems, such as noise in the walls or ceilings, or droppings. In most cases, these noises and droppings are caused by house mice, but in rare instances, field mice, more properly known as deer mice, can be the culprit. Do you know the differences between these two?

One of the main differences between these two is simply the frequency of invading homes. House mice are the most likely rodent in terms of sharing your home, hence their name. These mice will invade any home, whether in the middle of a city or in areas surrounded by fields. Deer mice, on the other hand, typically avoid heavily populated or urban areas, unless those areas have some sort of nature space nearby, like a forest, park, or meadow. If you don’t live near an area of open space, the mice you are encountering are likely house mice.

While these two rodents have similarities in appearance, they are quite different when you take a closer look. House mice are small, typically less than 4 inches long in the body, with a tail that can be almost the same length. Their entire body is covered in fur, including their tail, and this hair is often brown, although can be variations of grey. They have pointed snouts and large ears, but they have poor eyesight due to their small eyes. Deer mice, on the other hand, are often smaller, usually less than 3 inches in length, and their long tails are hairless. Their tails are also two-toned, with the top being a dark brown and the underside a white or tan color. The hair on the tops of their bodies is usually brown but can range from white to grey and black, but their bellies are all white. Unlike house mice, they have large eyes, as they are often nocturnal. They are also equipped with large ears and a pointed snout.

In terms of behavior, these two are often similar, as they both form nests and gather food. However, how they store food is often different. House mice will typically leave the nest to forage for food, and once food is found they will often consume this food in that location. Deer mice, on the other hand, will often bring food items back to the nest with them. Their nests are likely to hoard a variety of food items, including crumbs and seeds. Both of these mice will abandon their nests once they become too filthy for them to inhabit. Nests are typically located close to a ready food source.

While all mice are associated with various disease issues, determining the type of mouse taking up residence in your home is vital as it can determine which viruses you may be being exposed to. This is true of house and deer mice. House mice are most often associated with Leptospirosis and Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), both of which can be transmitted through the infected animal’s urine. LCMV can also be contracted through saliva, blood, or feces. Deer mice, on the other hand, are associated with Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, which can be contracted via contact with feces or saliva, and Lyme disease.

Regardless of which type of mouse is living in your home, Advanced Wildlife Control technicians are specially trained to identify species, eliminate your current live-in problems, clean up after these unwanted roommates, and prevent future rodent entry. Give us a call today!