How you feel about mice depends on your perspective. If you ask members of the 5.4 million American households with small animals as pets, they?d probably say they?re delightful and welcome additions to their home. Suffice to say that mice are not unlike other pests. After all, a weed is merely a misplaced plant.

Whatever your take on them, mice are fascinating animals, nevertheless. They are highly adaptable and have proven themselves to be survivors. There are 834 species in the Mouse (Muridae) family. You?ll find them almost anywhere in the world, except Antarctica. They live in a broad range of habitats, from forests to farms to fields.

Of course, it?s all well and good as long as they don?t take up residency in your home. Nevertheless, understanding more about them can help you prevent a pest problem. It?ll also give you some insights on what you should do if they?re already in the house. Mice have an interesting story to share.


1. Mice and Other Rodents Spread Diseases Both Directly and Indirectly.

One of the primary concerns about these pests is the diseases they can spread. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rodents can directly transmit Leptospirosis, the Plague, and Salmonella. Indirectly, they can spread Lyme Disease and the West Nile Virus. Bear in mind that these conditions can affect you and your pets, making pest control imperative.


2. The City With the Highest Infestation of Mice Is?

Philadelphia. While people associate New York City with rodent problems, the City of Brotherly Love has that top dubious honor. Over 20 percent of households have reported at least one sighting. NYC and San Antonio rank second, with over 15 percent. As startling as these numbers seem, cockroaches still remain the number one pest problem in urban areas.


3. At Least One Species of Mice Has Federal Protection.

While the populations of most mice species are secure, the Alabama Beach Mouse is not. Its numbers have dwindled so much that it is a federally endangered species. The primary reasons are habitat loss due to coastal development and damage from tropical storms. They live primarily in the sand dunes and ridges of coastal areas. It?s worth noting that they can provide an indication of the habitat?s health, too.


4. Mice?s Teeth Keep Growing Their Entire Lives.

Like other rodents, mice have two sets of incisors on their upper and lower jaw that never stop growing. That?s why one of the first signs of an infestation isn?t the animal but the handiwork it?s left behind in its search for food and shelter. It can also explain their diverse diet. As a precaution, we recommend keeping pantry items in rodent-proof containers. The same advice applies to pet food, too.


5. Mice Don?t Live Long.

Mice have to do a lot of living in a short period of time. It?s the bane of all prey species. Whether it?s the family cat or a Great Horned Owl, these rodents have lots of predators on the lookout for them. They can live up to 1 year in the wild?if they?re lucky. Mice in captivity have longer lifespans, up to 5 years. The difference explains the impact of predation on these rodents.


6. Mice Are Creatures of the Night.

Like many prey species, mice use the cover of the night as one defense against predators. You typically won?t see them in broad daylight. They start stirring around dusk or dawn to begin their day of foraging. Unfortunately for them, it?s the same activity period as their enemies, too. It?s one reason that many nocturnal animals?including mice?have such a keen sense of smell.


7. Mice Are Color-Blind.

Nocturnal animals don?t need to see colors at night since it would be difficult to see them, anyway. That?s why many will have a limited spectrum of hues that they can detect. Mice can see yellow and blue shades. However, green and red appear gray, just like a human who is color-blind. Their vision is also poor. However, their other senses more than pick up the slack for their lack of keen eyesight.


8. Mice Will Eat Just About Anything.

Mice are opportunistic feeders because they have to be. They eat a variety of foodstuffs as omnivores. In the wild, they?ll eat seeds, plants, and grains. They?ll also chew on root tubers and take the occasional snail or insect. Some animals even have a sweet tooth for things like chocolate. Although they only weigh 1 ounce, mice often eat up to 20 times a day.


9. Mice Only Need the Smallest of Holes to Get Inside Your Home.

As your pest control service rep will tell you, mice don?t need a large gap to get inside your house. They can squeeze their tiny bodies through openings as small as the diameter of a pencil. That gives them access to more opportunities to find food. It also makes an excellent escape route after a predator has caught a whiff of it. Mice typically stick close to their home bases and don?t go far from their nests.


10. We Are A Lot Closer to Mice Than You May Think.

There?s a good reason why researchers use mice for their experiments involving anything human-related. Surprisingly, people and mice share 90 percent of their DNA. These rodents contract similar diseases and respond like humans to disease-causing agents, making the mouse an ideal guinea pig. The so-called lab mouse is a cross between three different subspecies.


Final Thoughts

Mice are adaptable and resourceful animals that somehow manage to evade predators and traps at least long enough to keep the species going. Next time you see toothmarks on your wooden cabinets or baseboards, you?ll know what you?re up against with a mouse problem. The key to preventing an issue is to avoid making your home a ready source of food and shelter.

Remember that mice are opportunistic animals. If you leave the door open, they will come. Simple measures such as sealing cracks or holes in your foundation will go a long way toward creating a formidable barrier.