There are several species of mice, but the best-known species is the common house mouse. This type of creature is found in nearly all countries across the world, living in homes, ships, storage facilities, warehouses, farms and more. Mice typically make a burrow underground if they live out in the wild. Their burrow helps protect them from predators. Their natural predators are cats, birds, wild dogs and foxes. Mice are nocturnal, meaning they like to sleep during the day. This is why pet mice or house mice can be heard playing or foraging during the night. Most wild mice are timid toward humans and other animals, but they are very social with other mice. Domestic mice are very friendly toward humans and can make good pets for older children and adults.

The most obvious indicators of their presence are droppings, sounds of them running, gnawing or squeaking, or damage to stored food or materials used for nesting. The house mouse is remarkably well-adapted for living year-round in homes, food establishments and other structures. Homeowners are especially likely to notice mice during winter, following their fall migration indoors in search of warmth, food and shelter. Once mice become established inside a home, they can be extremely difficult to control.


Compared to rats, mice forage only short distances from their nest — usually not more than 10-25 feet. When food and shelter are adequate, their foraging range may be only a few feet. Mice are very inquisitive and will investigate each new object placed in their foraging territory. Mice have voracious appetites. They eat around 15 to 20 times per day, so they build their homes nearby places that have readily accessible food sources. Mice feed on a wide variety of foods but prefer seeds and cereal grains. They also are fond of foods high in fat and protein such as nuts, bacon, butter and sweets (an important point to remember when choosing a bait for snap traps). Mice are "nibblers" and may make 20-30 visits to different food sites each night.


Mice set up territories, which are especially important during breeding season. A female's territory typically measures no more than a quarter of an acre, while a male's territory can measure more than three times the size of a female's territory. A male's territory overlaps several female territories, which enables males to travel short distances to find females to mate with. Male mice will not actively defend their territories, but they will fight with other males if they happen to encounter them. Females are very protective of their territories, especially while raising offspring.

Field mice build dome-shaped nests out of materials like clumps of dry grasses and weeds. These nests are commonly built in shallow underground tunnels known as burrows. Leading to and away from these tunnels are runways, which are visible passages through plant materials like leaves and grasses. Field mice also build nests above ground in dense, grassy areas or in hollowed-out logs. Above-ground nesting areas are also surrounded by runways in several directions. Field mice frequently travel these runways to forage for food.

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