The white footed mouse is a rodent native to North America, and commonly found throughout the northeast including Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They are solitary creatures, with the exception of breeding season during the spring and fall. They are closely related to the house mouse, and can cause significant property damage due to their propensity to gnaw on insulation, packaging, electrical wires, etc.
White footed mice can grow to be five to eight inches long, including the tail which is half the length of the body. They have large ears and fur that is reddish, brownish, or grayish. Some white footed mice have a dark stripe down the middle of their back, and a white underbelly. They also have white feet, as their name implies.
These mice will consume a variety of foods including seeds, fruits, nuts, plants roots and fungi. They also eat beetles, centipedes, snails, grasshoppers, moths, crickets, crane flies, and other insects and predators. To survive the winter, white footed mice will store seeds and nuts in such places as an abandoned bird’s nest or a nearby animal burrow.
White footed mice live in the woods, in open areas near the woods, in brushy areas, and marshes. They do not hibernate but instead are active all year round. They like to nest in hollowed out trees and in old bird’s nests and squirrel nests, as well as in homes such as in the attic, basement, or within the walls.
PROBLEMS WITH WHITE FOOTED MICE
Aside from possibly carrying disease, the white footed mouse can cause significant damage to a home, cabin, or office. They gnaw on materials to build their nests which may result in the destruction of mattresses, upholstered furniture, documents, clothing, insulation, and more. They can also gnaw through electrical wires to create a considerable fire hazard.
White footed mice are mostly nocturnal, but will come out during the daytime to find food. Breeding season in the northeast is spring and late in the summer. Females can have 2-4 liters per year, with each litter containing between 3 and 5 mice. They reach reproductive maturity at 7-8 weeks of age. White footed mice have excellent vision (except for the fact that they are born blind), and have excellent hearing and a keen sense of smell. They are also great climbers and swimmers. Their whiskers are utilized as touch receptors. They have been known to drum on dry leaves or hollow reeds with their front paws, but reasons why they do this remain unclear. Life expectancy is usually from one to two years.
Lyme disease is the most common illness spread by white footed mice. Ticks pick up the pathogen after biting a white footed mouse, which is then passed along to other mammals including humans.
Another concern with white footed mice is the issue of hantavirus, a disease that can be transmitted via mouse feces and stirred up through the air. Hantavirus can be deadly to humans. At the very least it can cause neurological problems, muscle and joint pain, and respiratory issues. It is best to call a local professional pest control service immediately if droppings are spotted, or if an infestation is suspected.
SIGNS OF A WHITE FOOTED MOUSE INFESTATION
While it might be difficult for the average homeowner to determine what species of mouse has infested the home, there are some signs to consider, including:
• White footed mouse droppings are 1/8” long and are grain or rice shaped. They are similar in size to cockroach droppings. • Nesting materials will be present near a white footed mouse nest. These might be hair, bark, cloth, grass, leaves, moss, etc. • Ripped or shredded items such as clothing, mattresses, upholstered furniture, etc. may be present. • In the garden, white footed mice might uproot plants in search of seeds. • The lawn can be checked for signs of digging.
The surest way to prevent a white footed mouse infestation is by making the home or office and the surroundings unfavorable to these mice. This would include:
• Seal up any openings around plumbing, the foundation, etc. with copper mesh (which will resist a mouse’s gnawing). • Store all food items, both pet and human food, inside rodent-proof containers. • Trim shrubs and bushes so they do not touch the property, or hang over it. • Keep sanitation levels high both inside and outside by keeping the kitchen clean and maintaining regular trash pickup. • Remove abandoned bird nests or other locations that might appeal to mice as a new nesting place for them.
WHITE FOOTED MOUSE CONTROL
Home and business owners are often lulled into trying to eradicate mice by themselves. It is easy to set traps with peanut butter or cheese and wait. However, for peace of mind and for future prevention, your local professional pest control service provider should be called. An experienced pest technician can thoroughly investigate the home or office to discover where the pests are entering, and how those entryways can be blocked.
A licensed exterminator will have access to the products and treatments necessary for effective eradication not available to the public. In addition, they will be able to safely and effectively use the required treatments as necessary in the event children and pets are present in the home.
Our licensed exterminators are well-equipped with the proper tools and certifications to help ensure that the white-footed mice will not re-enter the premises.
If you suspect a problem with white footed mice, call SafeGuard now 215 • 493 • 7770