Deer Mouse

OVERVIEW

Deer mice are some of the most abundant and adaptable creatures in North America. They are common in rural areas all across the United States and are similar in appearance to common house mice, with which they are often confused. Deer mice are responsible for causing structural damage, thwarting crop and orchard seeding efforts, contaminating food sources, and spreading harmful diseases.

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Biology & Behavior

The native deer or white-footed mouse occasionally invades buildings adjacent to fields or woodlands. Deer mice are about the same size or slightly larger than house mice. Deer mice can be differentiated from house mice by a distinct, bi-colored tail with the upper portion brown grey and the lower portion white. Deer mice have small ears and eyes and a relatively short tail. ​The deer mouse is the most common host of the Hantavirus, but other small animals may carry the disease. Hantavirus is a viral illness transmitted through salvia, stool or urine of infected animals. Once these waste products dry, the virus can become airborne. Infection usually results when the virus is inhaled. The illness is described as a severe respiratory illness that results in death for about 50% of its victims. Avoid activities involving exposure to mouse droppings.

Diseases

Damage

​Domestic rodents contaminate food by defecation, destroy structures by gnawing, transmit diseases, and harbor parasites hazardous to humans and animals. Some of the diseases that rodents convey to humans are plague, murine typhus, infectious jaundice, poliomyelitis, food poisoning, rat bite fever, and rabies. Mice chew wires which create fire hazards.​​​

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