What Do Deer Mice Look Like?Also called field mice, deer mice are the quintessential mouse with long tails, round ears and pink noses. Their fur and tails start dark gray at the top and gradually fade to white at the bottom. Adult mice are between 4.7 inches and 7 inches in length, but don't let their size fool you. Even larger mice can squeeze through impossibly small holes. Like other rodents, deer mice have prominent incisors that continue to grow throughout their lifetimes. Teeth are essential tools for defending territory, cracking open nuts and creating bedding. Deer mice also have dexterous hands with thumbs, allowing them to easily manipulate food and bedding.
Are Deer Mice Dangerous?While deer mice aren't naturally aggressive, they may become so when cornered or infected with the rabies virus. They can bite and scratch, potentially breaking the skin. However, the greatest danger lies in the diseases these rodents potentially carry. Mice saliva, droppings and urine may contain hantaviruses and other pathogens. One concern is the spread of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which causes the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
Why Do Deer Mice Nest in Houses?Deer mice can live in a variety of environments, allowing them to thrive all over the world. In the wild, they create nests beneath stumps, under rocks or in tree cavities. However, they have no issue entering homes, especially under the following circumstances:
- Food is scarce.
- The weather is cold.
- The mouse is pregnant.
What Are Signs of a Deer Mouse Infestation?You probably won't actually see your uninvited guests, even if there's a sizable nest. Instead, you may notice little signs:
- Grease spots on baseboards
- New holes in the wall or floor
- Teeth marks on furniture
- Chewed food packaging
- Shredded paper or fabric
- Dark pellets smaller than a grain of rice (droppings)