Types of Mice in the UK
We all know what a mouse looks like: they are small, hairy, and somewhat cute. From a young age, mostly because of cartoons, we have developed the belief that all mice kinda look the same and have a soft spot for yellow cheese. Well, the second part is true to an extent (we will debate this later), but there are many types of mice in the UK. Some you can even adopt as pets (the so-called Fancy mouse for instance), while with others… let's just say it’s not a good idea to have those around.
Knowing and understanding the difference between the rodents can help you to handle situations like infestations. In this article, we will cover the basic things you need to know about the types of mice in the UK. And what exactly are those special kinds of Jerries? Continue reading and you'll find out.
The House Mouse Facts
Also known as the "Fancy mouse" is the sort of rodent that you can find in the pet store. And no, the mouse is not covered in Swarovski crystals and it doesn't squeak in a French accent. But don’t be fooled by its cutesy looks — it still makes for a successful pest. Here is some basic information that can help you gain more knowledge on the topic:
This sort of mouse is about 10 cm in length and weighs 40–45 g. Wild ones vary in colour from light brown to dark brown, while the pet store version can be found in white, champagne and even black. You can easily distinguish a female from a male; you won’t find nipples on a boy mouse.
The house mouse isn't a big fan of conditions that involve water but doesn't have problems with the cold. If you are living on a farm, taking care of wheat crops, you have a higher chance of spotting this creature because of its appetite for grain. An interesting fact is that the mouse will take a jog every day, checking its territory for any new changes.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but yellow cheese is not a mice's favourite food. They REALLY LOVE cereal. But as much as they fancy Cheerios, they can consume only 3 grams a day.
How does the house mouse affect humans?
If the rodent is not located vaccinated in a tank in your house, it can pose a serious health threat. Undomesticated pest mice can transmit a number of diseases such as leptospirosis, murine typhus, rickettsialpox, tularemia, lymphocytic choriomeningitis and potentially bubonic plague.
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The Yellow-Necked Field Mouse Facts
Adorable as it is, the yellow-necked field mouse is not the sort of animal you would want to find in your house. Why you ask? Well, the small creature is a carrier of the Dobrova virus. Here is how the mouse differs from other species in its family:
Unlike the house version, this kind of mouse is a bit bigger in size (about 12 cm long) and can weigh up to 45 grams. It's distinctive because it indeed has a yellow ribbon-like colouring around its neck. It has large ears and eyes, and a longer than the normal tail.
The yellow-necked mouse habitats gardens, coniferous, and mixed woodlands. It can be found in only a few, restricted areas in the UK: from Dorset across to Kent and Suffolk, and along the Severn basin from Gloucestershire to Staffordshire. The yellow-necked mice nests above ground in tree holes, dormice boxes and in houses, but are more prone to build complicated underground tunnels.
The furball likes to eat seeds, fruits, and green plants, so don't be surprised if you find one in your vegetable garden. They have the tendency to store a big part of their scavenged bounty in the labyrinths they build.
How does the yellow-necked field mouse affect humans?
This representative of the rodent family is known to host the Dobrava virus. The disease can cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. Needless to say, if you spot a yellow-necked field mouse in your house, better get rid of it pretty fast.
The Wood Mouse Facts
Among all of the mice types, the wood mouse is probably the smartest. It has a very interesting human-like behaviour, unknown to any other animal. Curious to know what makes this creature so unique? Keep on reading.
The wood mouse resembles quite a lot it's yellow-necked brother. One of the only differences is that it doesn't have that yellowish stripe along its neck. Overall it is visibly smaller than other types of mice.
Only a few mice survive from one summer to the next because of the unfriendly behaviour of foxes, weasels, owls and domestic cats. Their litter usually consist of 4-7 young, which are bred from March to October. They can continue making babies in the winter if they have enough food and good living conditions available.
Wood mice can be found mainly in the British Isles. Their home of choice are woodlands and fields but are still are highly adaptable. Remember how we said that they are really smart? The wood mouse leaves things such as leaves and twigs in special parts of their territory for navigation. No other species, leaving humans out of the equation, is known to have habits such as this.
Again, like the yellow-necked field mouse, this type of rodent likes to dine mainly of fruit and plants. They also have a soft spot for acorns, ash, sycamore seeds, fungi and some types of bugs. They tend to hide their bounty in birds nests and underground burrows for the colder months.
How does the wood mouse affect humans?
This type of mouse can easily be classified as a pest because of its habit of storming into kitchens to look for something to nibble on. On the other hand, these little critters can actually be of some help, because they are known to eat harmful insects. Still, it's never a good idea to have any type of mice running around your house, no matter their good intentions.
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How Are Mice Different Than Rats and Voles?
You see, rats are visibly bigger in size than most fancy mice or voles. They also differ in their eating habits as well. While both mice and rats like to feast on a variety of cuisine, the brown rat and fancy mouse are more prone to eat cereal-type of food, while the black rat prefers food higher in moisture content. A voles diet is vegetarian, while rats have predatory instincts. If your beloved garden tomatoes or carrots look chewed upon, you are most probably dealing with a vole.
Learn more about the difference between mice and rats
What Makes Mice Dangerous to Homeowners in the UK?
It's common knowledge that mice host a huge number of health-threatening diseases. If your property gets infested by the animal you risk getting infected by leftover urine or from any food they got in contact with. Mice can also play a negative role in the safety of your home. They tend to chew on everything they get their little grubby paws on, including electrical cables. A damaged cable can start a fire without you even knowing it. Yup, you read this right. A creature weighing 20 grams can burn down your entire house. Here is a list of more damages the rodent can cause:
- Rodents can chew through your furniture in order to create a nest inside;
- If your insulation is made from a soft material, mice can damage it by making tunnels in it;
- They will go in your food supply, contaminating it with their urine, droppings, and hair;
- In the attempt to get inside your property, they can damage its infrastructure;
- Mice can dig up your garden, bringing an end to all of your plants.
Quite the little renovators, aren’t they?
How to avoid mice infestations?
A good, but unpractical for some people (especially those with allergies) idea is to get a pet cat. It's self-explanatory - the two animals are natural enemies. Make a point to keep your food in airtight containers, so the mice don't have access to it. Keep your home as clean as possible. Declutter from any type of old paper such as magazines or piles of newspapers, that can serve as a snack for the creatures. Get rid of old furniture in your basement or attic. Mice have the tendency to make apartment buildings out of dusty sofas. Inspect your home for any types of holes that can act as entry points for the furballs and seal them immediately.
Check our dedicated article on how to get rid of mice
So, if you spot any of the described types of mice, best check for signs of infestation. Eliminate the chances of the situation getting out of hand. We advise you to hire a mouse exterminator to inspect and treat your property. Don’t put your family and homes safety at risk.
Bear in mind that we only aim to provide some useful information about the types of mice in the UK, what are the possible health risks and dangers to you and your family. We cannot guarantee that you will experience the above problems. We don't provide professional medical advice.