The house mouse is the most successful rodent in adapting to live with people. It is found almost anywhere people are, feeding on human food, sheltering in human structures, and reproducing at a remarkable rate. It is the most troublesome and economically important vertebrate pest, contaminating untold millions of dollars worth of food, damaging possessions, and causing electrical fires with its constant gnawing. Play Audio Pause Audio Description The house mouse, one of the most detrimental pests in the United States, is second only to humans as the most common mammal in cities across the nation. House mice are notorious nibblers who climb, jump, and swim in order to get to their favorite foods, which are often found in houses, farms, open fields, and commercial buildings. They are curious and fearless creatures that will chew through walls, electrical cables, and storage containers in order to get what they want. Appearance Common house mice are small, slender rodents with large ears, sensitive noses, and small eyes. Their fur is typically dusty brown or dull gray on top, with lighter shades along the chin and stomach. The rodents have hairless tails that are long and scaly, and their feet are well-equipped for grasping, burrowing, and climbing. What they lack in eyesight they make up for with their other senses and continually explore their environments in order to memorize the locations of food sources, hazards, safe hideaways, and escape routes. Habitat Any areas with sufficient food sources and hiding places make good habitats for clever and adaptable house mice. They are commonly found in farms, houses, and businesses, and are capable of living in a wide range of climates. House mice have been found in corn fields, fast food restaurants, the open arctic tundra, and underground coal mines over 1,800 feet below the surface of the earth. In the wild, house mice tend to burrow underground, while they often reside in walls, furniture, or appliances in human habitations. Their nests are made up of shredded fibers, papers, or cloths and are constructed in sheltered locations. Entry Are house mice known to enter homes or yards? Mice ordinarily enter homes, especially during fall and winter, in search of food and shelter. Their small size allows them to squeeze through tiny cracks and holes. House mice can also climb vertical surfaces and run along narrow wires or ropes in order to enter buildings. Once established inside a house, mice will constantly scamper throughout their territory, exploring and investigating new objects every night. Damage Do house mice harm people or property? Humans need not fear attacks from these tiny creatures. However, house mice are known to cause rampant damage to property and food supplies. They can carry diseases such as salmonellosis, rickettsial pox, dermatitis, Weil's disease, and meningitis. The most detrimental activity of mice is their propensity to nibble on food. House mice contaminate 10 times more food than they consume, tasting everything in sight and discarding partially eaten bits of food in favor of tastier treats. While foraging, mice defecate, urinate, and shed hair, which makes food unfit for consumption by humans or other animals. They also chew through electrical wiring, which destroys appliances, causes power shorts and outages, and even leads to electrical fires. Control and Safety Mouse-proofing homes can be extremely difficult, as the rodents are small and dexterous. The best way to prevent mice from entering is to secure food in rodent-proof containers, seal up obvious gaps and cracks along building exteriors, and maintain a sanitary household or business area. Because mice reproduce year-round, populations can grow quickly if not controlled or eliminated. Trapping and Removal Snap-style mouse traps, multiple-catch treadle door traps, and glue boards can be effective methods of dealing with house mice. However, populations of house mice are best dealt with by trained professionals. Not only do Critter Control specialists have up-to-date tools and extensive knowledge regarding mouse behavior, they are educated in humane methods of house mouse removal that keep homeowners safe. We can help you get rid of mice problems. Call today: 1.800.274.8837.