December 8, 2020
The Life of a Mouse
Welcome to Part 2 of our series on mice. In our last post, we looked at why Rochester has issues with mice and why we’re doing so much rodent removal in Rochester. Local pest control for mice is important in the winter and all year long.
Today, we’re going to begin at the beginning: how mice come into the world. We’ll be speaking somewhat generally of the breeding habits and life cycle of mice. There are some differences between the species of mice endemic to the United States, but we’re going to focus on the habits of the house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus, for best reference. This is the most common type of mouse that the people of Rochester find in their homes and businesses.
Breeding Habits of Mice
Mice seek a secure place to raise their families, especially in your nice warm home or office where there is food, shelter, and protection from most predators. Common house mice can breed any time of year, though wild mice prefer spring and summer to have their babies, called pups.
Wild mice usually live for about 12 to 18 months. In captivity, mice usually live for around 2 years, some as long as 6. Mice reach sexual maturity at only 5-7 weeks old, and females usually have from 5 to 10 litters a year if their living conditions are good, with pregnancy lasting just shy of 3 weeks. Litters usually have 5 or 6 pups, though new mothers might have as few as 3 and some have been known to bear up to 12 pups in one litter. The young open their eyes at 2 weeks old and are weaned at 3 weeks old.
The Next Generation
Let’s do a little math. We have one female house mouse. Let’s say she has a good living situation and is able to breed normally for 2 years. She has 7 litters a year, each turning out 5 healthy pups. That’s 70 pups in the life of one mouse. Keep in mind that each female will be ready to have pups of her own at 5-7 weeks of age. If our original mother mouse produces an equal number of males and females in those 2 years, that’s 35 females who will start their own families while their mother is still giving them brothers and sisters.
A Family Issue
You can easily see how a single mouse can cause an infestation of thousands in short order. Yes, mice are cute. But the fact that they spoil food, decimate crops, damage furniture, chew through wood, and leave excrement everywhere isn’t cute. Nor is the fact that they carry disease and parasites that can spread to humans, plus our pets and livestock. Another thing some mice like to do is chew electrical wires, often in places where we can’t see them like attics and spaces inside walls. This has led to many a structural fire, with property loss being the least of the damage done.
Let Us Help
For residential and commercial pest control, count on the pros to remove mice from your home or office and keep them from coming back. We’ve got you covered after the fact as well with periodic maintenance to keep entry points sealed and chemical treatments safe for you, your kids, and your pets. Contact us any time.