Deer mice have got to be one of the all time cutest creatures. Deer mice are also referred to as field mice but that is an all encompassing term and could include other rodents such as voles. With their soft looking two toned fur and their rounded bodies and large ears this very cautious rodent is larger than your average mouse but smaller than a rat. Deer mice are highly intelligent and studies show that they will think through situations before acting. The deer mouse gets its name because of it’s ability to run very fast and jump but for climbing and trapeze type moves, the house mouse is still superior in my opinion but perhaps this is because of their careful nature. The deer mouse is also very faithful and usually stays with one mate for life. The female can have 4 litters per year with 3 to 6 babies per litter. In as little as 25 days the baby mice are full grown but can spend considerable time with the parents and they can live up to 5 years. Populations sometimes get out of control but the poor deer mouse is on the bottom of the food chain and literally sought out by every predatory animal you can think of from snakes to owls and everything in between. For this reason the average life span is only about 2 years.
With their oversized eyes they look at you with that sort of pitiful stare as if to say “please love me, I’m just a harmless cuddly mouse” and your first instinct is to scoop him up and take him home. Unfortunately this soft and cuddly rodent is also known for carrying deadly diseases. Hantavirus is a virus that is spread through the fecal matter and urine and ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and bubonic plague are also carried by the deer mouse. This nocturnal rodent is very happy living in fields, tree stumps and away from humans but from time to time they have been known to enter homes where they prefer to stay in a safe undisturbed place such as your attic. Deer mice are not territorial and will readily share space with others so on rare occasions a home can house many deer mice.
There are about 60 variations of the deer mouse and they live in a wide variety of places. From the mountains of Mexico to Alaska and almost everywhere in between. Colors can vary but the deer mouse is almost always two toned in color as opposed to a house mouse who is usually solid gray or brown. For the most part there is no control measures necessary for the deer mice living in the wild since so many animals eat them for food. There is however a great concern for disease once they establish inside a home. Should trapping be needed the deer mouse is very smart and may not approach your trap right away much like a rat. They are however scavengers who will eat just about anything and eventually should at least investigate your rodent placement. Remember, there will be at least a pair of deer mice together and possibly more with the young who haven’t left out on their own. Make sure you keep your traps in place for a week or more even after you have caught one or two to make sure you’ve got them all. Since this rodent is not commensal like the house mouse you should try to limit touching the trap without gloves and do your best to disguise your placements and move them around especially after you’ve got one. For this cute little varmit or any rodent control really, my advice is to just let the experts handle it , I think you’ll be glad yo did.