Riley Pest Management
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FLORIDA RODENTS
A source for information on mice

 Deer Mouse      Peromyscus maniculatus

Size:

Body is up to two inches in length.

Color:

This species has several closely related cousins that are colored similarly. All species are bicolored -- the top is light brown to red-brown and the feet and underbelly are pure white.

Behavior:

Unlike the house mouse, the deer mouse is not found in cities but is associated more with rural areas and buildings located in or near wooded areas. It does not commonly invade homes, but in rare instances one or more deer mice may invade a particular building. The deer mouse is a medically important species because it carries the hantavirus. This virus can result in serious, often fatal, respiratory disease in humans. Cases of hantavirus are rare -- only about 300-400 cases have been documented in the past nine years, and most have been in the Western United States. The hantavirus can be contracted in a number of ways: by handling dead, infected deer mouse carcasses; by breathing in mouse-urine-laden dust particles that contain the virus; or by inhaling dust from areas of accumulated deer mouse droppings. You should avoid any area where infected deer mice have frequented unless wearing proper protective gear. Deer mice prefer the outdoors where they nest in tree holes, hollow logs, under logs and in piles of stones, branches or logs. If inside, they are most often found in areas of a home where the least human activity occurs, such as attics, garages, basements and crawl spaces

Habit:

Nests within hollow logs, tree holes, under piles of stones or logs. Most commonly associated with prairies or other rural, bushy or wooded areas. Avoids humans if indoors, preferring attics, basements or crawl spaces. Next to the house mouse, the deer mouse is the most common small mammal in North America with a wide distribution.

Diet:

Omnivorous, but prefers seeds, nuts, small fruits and berries, insects, centipedes, and the subterranean fungus Endogone.

Reproduction:

Reaches sexual maturity in as little as five weeks. Will produce two to four litters a year, usually during warm months. Typical litters contain three to five individuals, but may have as many as eight. Typically live two to twenty-four months, but can live as long as eight years in captivity.

Deer mice are small rodents whose fur coloration closely resembles that of the whitetail deer.  Dark at the back, these mice lighten in color at the underside and legs. They measure approximately six inches from nose to tail. The tail and body of the deer mouse are approximately the same length. Their tails are brown at the tip and white near the base. The deer mouse’s ears are large, round and almost hairless. Their eyes are also comparatively large.

Although they also invade homes, deer mice are prominent in rural areas with weeds, tall grass and plentiful vegetation. Deer mice create burrows and tunnel systems, which are much simpler than those created by other species. They use dry grass, weed stems, fur and feathers to construct their nests.

Deer mice may appear harmless, but they are known carriers of dangerous diseases such as Hantavirus. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is transmitted when urine and feces are disturbed.  Utmost care should be employed when disposing of deer mouse droppings. They should be sprayed with disinfectant before sweeping them up.

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