The house mouse (Mus musculus) is one of the most common species of mice here in Canada and in Ontario. They are found wherever people reside and eat whatever people eat or discard.
These nocturnal rodents are excellent climbers, swimmers, jumpers, and runners. They can squeeze through holes in walls, foundations and floors as small as a dime or quarter. House mice can survive living outdoors and in cold weather, however they prefer living inside where there is warm protective shelter and ample water, and food to nibble. Unlike deer mice, who tend to remain outdoors and only invade in the fall, these pests will invade and infest homes or business all throughout the year.
The average house mouse is slender, 10 cm in length, with large ears, pink-buff coloured feet and a tail twice the length of its body. Its fur is solid dark grey to light brown (and sometimes black), with lighter colouring on their underside. Their incisor teeth constantly grow over their full lifespan, so they need to continually chew to maintain their teeth.
The average house mouse lifespan is around 1 year. Females can produce litters of 5 to 6 babies up to 8 times per year. Babies are born typically 3 weeks post breeding and will reach breeding maturity at 3 months.
The house mouse is often portrayed as the adorable little mouse that peeks out of a perfectly shaped hole in a floorboard, looking for the opportune time to scurry out in search for some cheese to nibble on. These mice are often witty and enjoy taunting and teasing the feisty family cat.
The reality is that the house mouse poses a serious health and safety concern:
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