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5 Differences: Field Mice Vs. House Mice

February 28, 2021
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It’s easy to confuse a field mouse for a house mouse, especially when you don’t know their differences. However, learning about the differences between the two rodents can help you come up with better solutions to eliminate them during an infestation. 

So what are the differences between a field mouse and a house mouse? The two rodents differ in the following:

  1. Physical characteristics
  2. Behavior
  3. Life cycle
  4. Damage caused
  5. Droppings and urine

Identifying Field Mice Vs. House Mice

A field mouse isn’t a specific species, and the name can refer to different types of mice. When talking about field mice in the United States, it’s usually referring to deer mice. While it’s easy to confuse a house mouse from a field mouse or deer mouse, here are some significant differences between the two that can help you identify the kind of rodent you’re dealing with:

1. Physical Characteristics

  • Body: A house mouse’s body measures around 2.5 to 3.2 inches long. On the other hand, an adult field mouse is slightly bigger than the house mouse with its body measuring around 3 to 4 inches.
  • Tail: One of the most apparent differences between the two rodents is that house mice have hair on their tails, while field mice or deer mice have shorter tails that don’t have hair.
  • Fur: House mice have light brown or gray coats that are usually a single color, while deer mice have a darker fur (usually brown or gray) on top of their bodies with white or lighter underbellies.

2. Behavior

  • Eating Habits: House mice are opportunistic eaters which means they eat almost any kind of food that they can find. On the other hand, field mice tend to gather food and then store it in tree trunks or bird nests.
  • Nesting Habits: House mice create their nests in fields and beneath shrubs when they’re outdoors, and in undisturbed places like attics and garages when they’re indoors. Field mice or deer mice tend to build their nests in hollow trees or underground when the temperature falls during the winter season.  
  • Movement: A house mouse usually explores new territory because they are curious creatures, while a field mouse or a deer mouse is a less social creature that creates nests that are out of your way.    
  • Habitat: House mice are more likely to live in urban areas, while field mice are usually found in open fields, forests, and farms. 

3. Life Cycle

A field mouse’s average lifespan is around one and a half years, while the house mouse lives around 2 years. However, both rodents live longer in areas that provide them with better resources so it’s why mice that are kept as pets live longer. A female mouse can have 5 to 10 litters per year, with around 6-8 babies per litter. 

4. Damage Caused

When they infest your home, both rodents can bring serious damage and carry a variety of illnesses that can be health hazards for you and other humans. Field mice or deer mice are known to carry hantavirus, which is a respiratory disease that can be fatal. A person can get hantavirus when they inhale the virus from infected mouse urine or droppings. 

On the other hand, house mice can bring in diseases like Lymphocytic choriomeningitis and leptospirosis. Both mice can also bring in other pests like fleas and ticks into your home. These parasites can also carry other illnesses like Lyme disease, which can cause other problems. 

5. Droppings and Urine

The last factor that can help you determine whether you’re dealing with a house mouse or a field mouse is to look at the droppings and urine they leave behind. Field mice or deer mice usually have droppings with pointed ends, while house mice droppings typically resemble a grain of rice. A house mouse also tends to have urine that has a strong, ammonia-like odor.  

Field Mice Vs. House Mice: Summarized

CharacteristicField MiceHouse Mice
BodyAround 3 to 4 inches longAround 2.5 to 3.2 inches long
TailShort tails without hairLong tails with hair
FurHave lighter coats on their underbellies that are usually light brown or grayCoats are one color, brown or gray
Eating HabitsTend to gather food and store it in their nestsOpportunistic eaters and eat almost any kind of food
Nesting HabitsBuild their nests in hollow trees or underground during the winterCreate their nests in fields and beneath shrubs or in undisturbed places
MovementLess social creaturesExplore new territory
HabitatUsually found in open fields, forests, and farmsMore likely to live in urban areas
Life CycleLifespan is around 1½ yearsLifespan is around 2 years
Damage CausedA known carrier of the hantavirusCan carry diseases like Lymphocytic choriomeningitis and leptospirosis
Droppings and UrineDroppings have pointed endsDroppings typically resemble a grain of rice and urine has a strong, ammonia-like odor

Pest Control at Positive Pest Management

Whether you’re dealing with a field mice or a house mice infestation, the best solution to eliminate rodents in your property is to call for professional services. Positive Pest Management serves both residential and commercial properties in All of NYC and Lower Westchester County.

We have experts who are highly trained in eliminating different kinds of pests, and we’re eager to help you with your exterminating needs. Our team also creates better solutions because of our proactive communication with our clients. To know more about Positive Pest Management and the services that we offer, you may give us a call today. 

Read more: 4 Methods: How to Get Rid of Dead Mouse Smell

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