The common name of the deer mouse comes from the coloration of the rodent, which resembles a white-tailed deer.
|Color||Deer mice are traditionally brown on the back and white on the underbelly, legs, and tail.|
|Size||Adult deer mice grow as long as 6-8" from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail.|
|Appearance||In addition to their notably large eyes and ears, deer mice have long, thin tails and hind legs that are longer than their forelegs.|
Omnivorous and adaptable, deer mice tend to be opportunistic eaters when they inhabit homes and buildings. In nature, the rodents target various invertebrates, seeds, fruits, grains, fungi, flowers, and nuts.
Habitat & Nests
As nocturnal rodents, deer mice rarely leave their well hidden nests during the day. They nest in burrows, rock crevices, brush piles, and tree holes. Nests are made with soft, insulating material, including moss, dried, grass, leaves and feathers. A nest may be inhabited by a family of deer mice consisting of the parents and several young. Over the course of a year, a family of deer mice may utilize several nests, typically abandoning a nest after it has become fouled with feces and waste. During colder months deer mice seek shelter inside and enter buildings. They are excellent climbers and can be found in even upper levels of structures, including attics.
Mouse droppings are small pellets about a quarter of an inch long with pointed ends. The pellets are generally dark brown or black, though the color may vary depending on individual mouse diets. They are often deposited along areas of frequent activity, with the potential for thousands of droppings to accumulate over a short period of time, especially in the case of large infestations. Droppings from house mice, deer mice, and white-footed mice share characteristics and become hard and dry after a few hours.
The deer mouse gestation period lasts about 24 days, and females can become pregnant again shortly after giving birth, having as many as 11 litters in one year. Each litter consists of anywhere from one to nine pups who reach sexual maturity after five or six weeks.
Young deer mice are born tiny, hairless, and blind and depend on their mother for survival during their first month of life. The pests typically live a year in the wild but can survive for two or three years in captivity.
Signs of Infestation
Look for nests made of twigs, leaves, roots, and other fibrous materials.
Check for the greasy stains (sebum) that deer mice leave on walls, windows, and other surfaces.
Typically, deer mice do not remain in one place long enough to cause significant property damage. However, the pests will damage upholstered furniture, mattresses, clothing, paper, and various other materials to make their nests.
Prevention & Control
The best way to control a deer mouse population is to prevent them from getting in unwanted areas. Simple preventative steps and minor repairs will block entry ways and prevent mice and other pests from coming inside.
Eliminate Entry Points
Mice can be very innovative in their attempts to enter a dwelling. They will move along the outside perimeter of a building until they find an opening or crack, and then sneak right in. Make deer mouse infestations less likely by locating any openings around the home that are larger than 1/4" and sealing them. Applying steel wool mixed with caulk around openings for pipes and wires may also help to keep mice away, as does the use of metal and concrete where necessary. Deer mice can gnaw through screens, rubber, insulating foam. Review the areas listed below for places to prevent mice from entering:
- Replace broken windows
- Caulk around utility/service pipes
- Weather strip around doors
- Repair cracks or openings in the foundation
- Screen all vents
Proper sanitation inside the home also helps prevent infestations. Wash dishes and cooking utensils and clean spilled food from food preparation areas and floors immediately. Also, dispose of any trash and clutter.
Routine yard maintenance deters deer mice. Cut overgrown shrubs and trim tree branches that hang over the roof; otherwise, mice could walk across the overhanging limbs and gain access to the house. Keep woodpiles away from the perimeter of the home and regularly clear debris from the lawn to avoid inadvertently giving pest rodents ideal places to hide.
Several baits and trapping tools on the market can help remove deer mice from homes. However, if the infestation persists, or several invasions occur over a short period of time, count on a professional pest management service to take care of the problem knowledgeably and successfully.
Batzner Service Specialists are highly trained to conduct a thorough inspection to find evidence of mice. There are numerous methods available to eliminate mice, but in order to prevent more mouse problems, it is important to find the places where they're getting in. Sanitation, exclusion, and population reduction are the keys to eradicating a mouse population. A Batzner Service Specialist will perform a service to eliminate the mice from your home and make sanitation and repair recommendations to help prevent future problems.
Regular inspections of your home by a pest control professional throughout the year is the best method to identify and prevent any issues with mice or any other pests. The BAN System provides regularly scheduled preventive services every quarter.