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Home > Other Critters > House Mouse

House Mouse—Mus musculus

The house mouse (Mus musculus) is considered one of the most troublesome and economically important rodents in the United States. In homes they feed on and damage food, contaminate food with droppings and urine, cause structural damage to building by gnawing and nest-building, including chewing on furniture and wiring. In addition, house mice can spread disease to humans and pets, including salmonellosis (food poisoning).

close-up of mouse mouse in pantry many mice
The adult house mouse is small and slender and about 1-2 inches long, excluding tail. It has large ears, pointed nose and small eyes. The tail is as long as the head and body combined. The fur color varies, but it is usually a light grey or brown, but could be darker shades.

A house mouse is an excellent climber and can run up any rough vertical surface. It will run horizontally along wire cables or ropes and can jump up 13 inches from the floor onto a flat surface

Mice will eat almost anything, but prefer cereal grains, seeds, or sweet material. They require very little water, obtaining most of their water needs from their food. Mice can consume large quantities of stored seed and grains from farmers and granaries.

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It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.