Mice are pesky little critters you don’t want to see scurrying about your home. If you’re looking to get rid of mice or prevent mice from ever returning to your home, then it’s a good idea to learn a little something about them. After all, learning about your invaders is one of the best tactics that’s used in war, and getting rid of mice can be considered a war of sorts.
The first step in winning the battle against mice and other rodents in your home is learning what they eat. We’ll cover some of the main staples in a mouse’s diet and how you can use this information to effectively combat these common pests.
Diet of a Wild Mouse
So, what do field mice eat? In general, mice are omnivores. This means that they will consume both vegetation and meat. They’re also scavengers, meaning they primarily feast on dead plant and animal matter. Rotting fruit, veggies and even dead animals are fair game for mice.
Farms, in particular, need to be mindful of keeping mice at bay because rodents love eating fruits, oats and grains. Your harvest can be drastically reduced if a lot of mice infiltrate your property, so preventing infestations is especially important in agricultural settings.
Mice also love scavenging around trash cans to eat whatever they can find. This is a big reason why they appear in urban neighborhoods — there are plenty of trash cans filled with yummy scraps for them to enjoy. Mice are notorious for eating rotting food or even roadkill, making urban environments the perfect habitats for hungry mice.
Diet of a Baby Mouse
A newborn mouse will not be able to gather food for itself. Baby mice typically get milk from their mothers, and then their moms must go hunt for food on their own and bring it back to the nest. Before giving birth, the mother will look for a nesting spot that is near a reliable food source so her babies can remain close by while she scavenges. While in the womb, a baby mouse will even adapt, or localize its tastes based on what Mama Mouse eats. This is why a family of mice may decide to turn your home into their home: There’s plenty of good food to go around for baby mice.
The Gross Reality of Some Mice’s Diets
As mentioned earlier, mice are scavengers and will eat whatever they can find. Naturally, they will go for human food if they can find it. However, some mice have been known to resort to cannibalistic behavior under extreme conditions. For example, it is not unheard of for a mother mouse to eat one of her babies if no food can be found. Sometimes, mice will even chew on their own tails out of desperation. This behavior is fairly uncommon though, and mice will only resort to it under duress.
Why Do Mice Chew Wires & Other Objects?
Aside from mice stealing bites of food here and there, mice also like to chew on household objects that are not food. Bite marks on furniture or walls are often the first signs of mice that people notice. Sometimes, mice will even chew electrical wires.
But mice don’t necessarily think these items are food. In fact, chewing on wires and other strange objects is part of mice’s nesting habits. Just like with food, mice build their nests out of whatever they can find.
Keeping Mice Away
Now that you know what rodents eat, you can use this knowledge to help you get rid of your rodent infestation and keep your food safe.
For starters, do not leave food out in the open. Leaving a box of treats on the countertop is practically an open invitation for mice. Mice will chew through bags and boxes if necessary to get to food, so an easy way to tell you have mice is if holes start appearing in your food packaging.
If you have flour or grains in your kitchen, it’s a good idea to keep them in glass jars. Mice cannot chew through glass, so putting these items in jars and sealing them tight will keep your food safe.
Avoid leaving dishes in the sink, and wash them promptly after use instead. Dishes with food residue are easy for mice to reach and can lead to disaster in the kitchen. Rinse everything off thoroughly and put the dishes away when you’re done — otherwise, mice may end up leaving droppings on dishes left out in the open.
One last piece of advice? Clean up and vacuum often. Crumbs in the carpet make it far too easy for mice to get food.
Getting Rid of Mice
Mice are more than just a nuisance — they can cost you money, too. If they get into your food, you’ll have to throw away whatever’s been contaminated. If they bite your wires, then you’ll need to hire professionals to fix your electrical systems.
In order to prevent undesirable expenses and damages to your home, it’s best to prevent mice from ever entering your home in the first place. There are plenty of ways to go about getting rid of mice. Visit our Pest Library for in-depth information on keeping the rodents away.