The Differences Between Deer Mice And House Mice In Colorado

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There are many similarities between deer mice and house mice. They are about the same size and have many physical features in common. But these two mice are not from the same family. House mice are in the family of animals known as Murids, while deer mice are Cricetidae. This gives them many differences that require pest technicians to use slightly different protocols for effective control. Here are a few things you should know about these two rodent species.

Types Of Mice In Colorado

House Mouse (Mus musculus)

While it has "house" in its name, this species of mouse is often called a field mouse because, when it isn't living with humans, Mus musculus can be found in fields and prairies. But, this is a creature that prefers to live off the generosity of humans, and this brings them into man-made structures. Once inside, they are happy to stay.

Deer Mouse (Peromyscus keeni)

This mouse species enjoys the outdoors. It is most often found in rural areas and around homes, rather than in them. It is drawn to live in barns, sheds, outbuildings, and other secluded places, but it can take up residence in a home, especially when conditions outside are less than optimal.

house mouse inside colorado springs home

Deer Mice vs. House Mice

  • A house mouse has a pointed nose, beady black or pink eyes, small rounded ears, and a long, hairless tail, and comes in variety of colors: tan, brown, black, grey, and white. Deer mice are grey or tawny brown with a white underbelly and white feet. Its tail is short and covered with fine hairs. The most noticeable characteristic of the deer mouse is its white underbelly hair, which extends to the underneath of its tail.
  • A house mouse is about 5 inches from its nose to its tail. A deer mouse is around 7 inches from nose to tail.
  • A house mouse is connected to the spread of Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, rickettsialpox, and leptospirosis. Deer mice are a vector for hantaviruses. Hantavirus is a growing issue. For this reason, it is vital to properly identify which types of mice are infesting. Mice urinate and leave feces in their nests and abandon them when they get too filthy. This can make nest clean up dangerous. A respirator should always be used.
  • Both of these mice are able to carry ticks, fleas, lice, and other ectoparasites in their fur, but deer mice are more prone to it, due to their habit of going back outside. These ectoparasites come with their own issues, such as Lyme disease.
  • Both of these mice are spreaders of harmful bacteria but they have differences. Since house mice stay inside more, and cover more territory inside a home, they can spread illness to more locations. But deer mice frequent outside dumpsters, trash heaps, and other unsecured trash, and make them more likely to bring filth in.
  • House mice are good jumpers and are able to jump a foot straight up in the air. Deer mice are good climbers. They are able to gain access to a home by climbing a tree and using a branch as a bridge, or by climbing up a downspout and gaining access to a roofline. This makes it easier for deer mice to get into the upper levels of a home.
  • House mice are opportunistic eaters. They will forage around a home and nibble on whatever they find. Deer mice gather food and store it. This makes controlling deer mice with baits a little more difficult than controlling house mice. Deer mice have a habit of picking up rodenticide baits. When they do this, there is no bait left for other mice to pick up. If baits are used to control deer mice, they should be secured block baits.

Contact EnviroPest For Rodent Control In Colorado

 No home or business should have either of these rodents in, or around, them. House mice and deer mice are a health threat and a dirty guest. If you need help removing and excluding either of these mice, reach out to us for immediate assistance. The pest specialists here at Enviropest can help you seal vulnerable areas, and put in place protocols that will protect your family and your home.

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