House mice are said to be the most common mammal in the U.S., so it’s no surprise that many homeowners report dealing with infestations at one time or another. Because mice are so common, you may think you already know all there is to know about this household pest, but think again!
Here are eight fascinating mouse facts you probably don’t know:
1. If you have a mouse infestation, rest assured you are not alone.
Each winter, mice and other rodents invade an estimated 21 millions homes in the United States. Mice typically enter our homes between October and February, looking for food, water and shelter from the cold.
2. Mice have big appetites.
Despite their tiny bodies (and even smaller stomachs!), mice eat between 15 and 20 times a day. Because of their frequent eating habits, they prefer to build their homes near food sources.
3. They are little gymnasts.
Mice are good jumpers, climbers and swimmers. In fact, mice can jump a foot into the air, allowing them to easily climb up onto kitchen counters or into pantries to access food. To prevent mice and other pests from getting into your food, store all pantry items items in hard, plastic containers with a tightly sealed lid.
4. …and little Houdinis!
Mice can squeeze through openings as small as the size of a dime. This means that a small crack or opening on the exterior of your home (such as where utility pipes enter) is like an open door for mice. Prevent mice from gaining access to your home by sealing any openings on the exterior with a silicone caulk. You can also fill gaps and holes inside your home with steel wool.
5. They have relatively short lifespans.
In the wild, mice usually only live for about five months, mostly because of predators such as cats, snakes and foxes. In a lab setting, mice can live for up to two years.
6. They spread more germs than you know.
Sure, you know that mice can spread diseases like Hantavirus and Salmonella, but that’s just the beginning. In fact, mice can actually carry as many as 200 human pathogens!
7. Mice aren’t potty-trained.
Okay, so you already knew that. But did you know that a house mouse produces between 40 and 100 droppings per day? In addition, house mice constantly give off micro-droplets of urine as they travel around their territory every day. However, if you’re looking for a silver lining, house mice (like all rodents) do not vomit.
8. One mouse can turn into many mice…quickly!
A female house mouse can give birth when they are only two months old, and they are able to have to up to a dozen babies every three weeks. This means she could have as many as 150 offspring in a single year! If you spot a mouse in your home, it is safe to assume there are more or there will be soon. It’s best to contact a licensed pest professional before the infestation grows out of control.