How Long Do Mice Live?
A house mouse that you will typically see around your home 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 plenty of food, water, and no predators, they can stay around for up to two years.
Although a pet mouse might make an adorable addition to the family, most mice are more like uninvited houseguests. Knowing how long they could possibly live means homeowners won’t want to just sit around and wait for them to die to solve their pest problem.
Find out more about the mouse life cycle and their general life expectancy so you can better understand the infestation in your own house.
Life Cycle of a Mouse
Mice pups are small, roughly the size of a quarter. They only weigh about as much as a sheet of paper. 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.
By two weeks of age, their eyes and ears have opened and they have grown hair. Check out detailed photographs of the weekly development of mice stages.
When do They Leave the Nest?
By three weeks, the mice are weaned from their mother. They are able to come and go from the nest, finding their own food. The diet of a mouse varies based on its surroundings. They can eat practically anything, from dry foods, fresh or rotting produce, other insects, and more, but have shown a preference for the same foods their mother ate while pregnant.
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 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, these pests can multiply at an astonishing rate!
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Average Mouse Lifespan
As you can see, it does not take long for one of these critters to become many, but how long do mice normally live?
In the wild, the average lifespan of a mouse tends to be about five or six months. If living in ideal conditions, they can live for approximately two years. Ideal conditions for a mouse mean a steady supply of food without intense competition from other rodents or predators, as well as a somewhat temperate climate.
They can survive for months without water, getting the hydration they need from their food, or by licking the condensation from sink pipes. Reproduction slows down during the winter months due to lower temperatures. Indoor populations breed throughout the year, while outdoor mice have peak breeding seasons during the spring and fall.
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 think you have one or more than one of these unwanted guests in your home, get caught up on our tried and true methods of getting rid of mice including botanical solutions that help prevent the problem in the first place.