mouse in pantry

Deer Mouse vs. House Mouse: What’s the Difference?

Have you noticed evidence of a mouse infestation on your property? It can certainly be alarming to find mouse droppings in your kitchen or even see a live mouse scurrying across the floor, but it’s equally upsetting to hear noises in the walls and not know what’s lurking inside of them.

Mice are common indoor pests, particularly during the fall and winter months when they seek shelter indoors. But just because they are common does not mean that they aren’t a big deal. Mice are carriers of disease, and their urine, feces, and insatiable desire to gnaw on things can cause some serious structural damage to your property.

Two of the most common types of mice that infest homes and businesses are deer mice and house mice. In this article, we’ll explain key similarities and differences so that you know what to watch out for.

deer mice vs. house mice inforgraphic

Deer Mice & House Mice Comparison

You may be asking yourself why you even need to bother learning the differences between deer mice and house mice. After all, a mouse is a mouse, right? Well… yes and no. Ultimately, if you have mice on your property or even suspect that you do, you do need to call a pest control company to remove them, regardless of the type. However, it may interest you to think like a pest control technician and get a more in-depth understanding of what makes these pests tick. Although they seem similar, deer mice and house mice are two different species, and pest control technicians use slightly different methods for getting rid of each type of mouse based on their unique characteristics.

Deer Mice Appearance & Behavior 

Also called "field mice" or "white-footed mice", deer mice are usually between five and eight inches in length from nose to tail. They are identifiable by their gray, tan, or reddish-brown coloring with a while underbelly and feet. Their tails are covered with hair, darker on the top and lighter on the bottom.

These rodents do not hibernate and will often invade homes in search or warmth and food during the colder months. Common entry points include attics and basements.

Are Deer Mice Dangerous?

The most important thing to remember about deer mice is that they are carriers of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, a serious illness that may be fatal. Humans can become infected with hantavirus through contact with mouse carcasses or by breathing in airborne dust that includes saliva, fecal matter, or urine from infected rodents.

Recommended Reading: Get Rid of Mice Now!

All About House Mice (a.k.a. Brown Mice)

House mice are similar in size to deer mice, but they are light brown or gray in color and do not have the white underbelly that distinguishes deer mice. While they occur in a range of colors, many people commonly refer to this species as "brown mice". They also have nearly hairless tails and large ears in proportion to their bodies. 

House mice are adept at squeezing into very small spaces and are excellent climbers. Once they have found a comfortable spot inside your home, they will seek out food and begin multiplying very quickly. Within half a year, a couple dozen mice can grow to over one thousand. House mice can cause enormous structural damage through their propensity for gnawing on wood and electrical wires.

Do House Mice Carry Disease?

While house mice are not known carriers of hantavirus, they can still transmit illness-causing pathogens through their urine or droppings. Salmonella is one such disease linked to house mice. If you suspect you have brown mice in your house, you should call a pest control company immediately.

Recommended Reading: 8 Common Places Mice & Rats Like to Hide

Get Rid of Deer Mice & House Mice Today

Regardless of the type of mouse you’re dealing with, it’s important to get a rodent control professional involved as soon as possible. Even though they may appear adorable, mice can cause a host of problems and do not belong on your property.

To request a rodent inspection in New Jersey, call Horizon Pest Control now at (201) 365-9886.

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