Pest Control in Berkshire
Mice are a small mammal belonging to the rodent family. The most common species found in the domestic home is the House Mouse (Mus musculus), However in some areas the Field Mouse also known as the Wood Mouse can also become a problem in the home. Mice usually come into our homes for food and shelter, causing damage to all areas of the house from stored food, furniture, wiring and even the insulation which is either used for nesting material or tunnelling through. Mice also transmit disease causing pathogens and parasite by contaminating food and surfaces across the home with their urine.
Appearance: There is a clear difference between a Field Mouse and a House Mouse in the colouring of their fur, size wise both species of mice can grow up to 10cm in length from the base of their tail to their nose and can reach a weight of between 10 - 30g. They have little or no fur on their ears or tail.
A Field Mouse is dark brown in colour with a white under belly and has large eyes and ears in-comparison to its body. Field Mice also have the longest tail giving them the name - The Long Tailed Field Mouse.
A House Mouse can vary from white-grey or light brown-black and have a lighter coloured under belly. House Mice also have a very small tail compared to the Field Mouse, their tail grows to just under 10cm making it slightly shorter than their body, this is a good way to the two apart.
Mouse dropping are alto smaller than rat dropping and are blackish in colour and has a strong musky smell.
Distribution: Both species of mice can be found across the UK and across most of Europe. Mice can be seen in both domestic and commercial areas as well as being found in their natural habitat of fields and woodlands. They are also found in agricultural areas especially around storage containers of wheat, animal feed etc.
Habitat: House Mice can be found in open grass fields and around agricultural land living in small hole just under the ground. However they are primarily found living within close proximity to humans, as we not only provide shelter but also a good food source.
Field Mice on the other hand are predominantly seen living in field, along hedgerows, forests, grassland and agricultural land.
Habits and Biology: Mice are most active during dusk/night and are primarily nocturnal not liking bright lights. Due to this behaviour mice rely on their sense of hearing and can communicate on both human audible range i.e. with squeaks (used for short distant warning) and on an ultrasound range (long distance warnings). They also use pheromones for social and mating communication.
Both Field Mice and House Mice will only live for 6 - 12 months due to predation and severe weather conditions. However in a protective environment with a good food source they can live 2 - 3 years.
The Diet of A House Mouse: House Mice are omnivorous but predominantly eat plant matter they will also eat a variety of human food if easy to access along with pet food and bird seed or any other food stored around the home/garage.
The Diet of A Field Mouse: Field Mice on the other hand although also omnivores prefer to eat seeds, berries, invertebrates, worms and other similar foods.
Breeding: Mice have a gestation period of 19 - 25 days depending on species to which they can give birth to a litter of 3 - 14 young, the average size of a litter is usually 6 - 8. They can have 5 - 10 litters a year, and although males do not reach sexual maturity till there 6 weeks old and females not till 8 weeks old they can breed as early as 5 weeks. So a small Mouse problem can quickly turn into a large infestation.