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How Long Do Mice Live?

By: EarthKind

House mouse standing on leaves outside of a home

A house mouse can live anywhere from six months to around two years. Six months is closer to the average amount of time they live, but if they have ideal living conditions, including a steady supply of food, water, shelter, and no predators, they can live for up to two years. Ideal conditions also include no intense competition from other rodents for food as well as a somewhat temperate climate.

Wild mice that don’t find shelter in a home typically don’t live as long. They have to face the harsh realities of outdoor living, including predators and food scarcity. In the wild, the average lifespan of a mouse is reduced by nearly half!  

Although a pet mouse might make an adorable addition to the family, most mice people typically encounter are uninvited houseguests. Knowing just how long these pests can live is a clear indicator to homeowners that if you have a problem with mice, you should not just sit around and wait for them to die.

Find out more about the mouse life cycle and their general life expectancy so you can better understand what to do if there’s an infestation in your own house.

Life Cycle of a Mouse

The stages of a mouse life cycle: baby, juvenile, adult

These small creatures have a surprisingly quick journey from birth to adulthood. A baby mouse starts off helpless but doesn’t stay that way for long—they grow up fast, hitting their stride as adults just a few weeks into their life. This can cause major problems in regards to rodent control because a small issue can quickly turn into a full infestation.

Baby Mice

Small baby mouse sitting in the palm of a person's hand

When in the baby stage of their life cycle, mice pups are small, roughly the size of a quarter. They only weigh about as much as a sheet of paper, somewhere around 1g. They are blind and sometimes referred to as ‘pinkies’ due to the pink color of their hairless bodies. Unless you find a mouse’s nest, you are unlikely to encounter babies because they don’t wander away at this stage.

Juvenile Mice

By two weeks of age, their eyes and ears have opened and they have started to grow hair.

By three weeks, the mice are weaned from their mother. During this time, they leave the nest and are able to come and go as they please to find their own food.

The diet of a mouse varies based on its surroundings. They can eat practically anything, including dry foods, fresh or rotting produce, other insects, and more, but they have shown a preference for the same foods their mother ate while pregnant.

Adult Mice

Adult mouse sitting on top of a piece of bread

A mouse reaches reproductive maturity by about six weeks of age. Male mice attract a mate by ‘singing’ ultrasonic songs (meaning people cannot hear them) and through the use of scents only other mice can detect, called pheromones.

Once a female mouse becomes pregnant, it will only take 18-21 days before she delivers her litter. The number of babies in a litter is about five or six on average. When you do the math, assuming half of each litter is female and can begin reproducing in six weeks, and when you consider that females get pregnant multiple times a year, these pests can multiply at an astonishing rate!

These pests can survive for months without water, getting the hydration they need from their food, or by licking the condensation from sink pipes. For outdoor mice, reproduction slows down during the winter months due to lower temperatures, and their peak breeding seasons are spring and fall. However, indoor populations breed throughout the year.

Check out detailed photographs of the weekly development of mice stages

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Preventing Unwanted Infestations

Taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to pest control runs the risk of exposing yourself and your family to the various mouse problems. For example, they can spread diseases such as the potentially life-threatening hantavirus.

While cats and dogs are natural predators that can help control the mouse population, they do not usually eliminate mouse infestations. Not only is a well-fed pet a lazy mouser, but mice actually love to eat pet food and may be more attracted to homes where a food supply is readily available.

If you’ve noticed droppings or any other signs of mice around your home and think you have a pest problem, it’s important to address it immediately. Learn more about helpful methods for getting rid of mice, including botanical solutions like Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent that help prevent the problem in the first place. Shop Fresh Cab online or in a store near you.