What Do Mice Eat?

The first step in rat or mice control is to make your home unappealing to the rodents. Mice seek easy entry, shelter and food. Of these things, the easiest to limit is the food supply. Understanding what mice eat will help you to keep your property free of these vermin.

What Do Field Mice Eat?

The field mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus), also sometimes known as the wood mouse is an omnivore, meaning they eat both plant and animal products. In the wild their preferred diet is a mix of:

  • Seeds and grain
  • Berries
  • Fungi
  • Insects
  • Snails

Field mice tend to be shy and avoid human contact, they're also mainly nocturnal but you may see them if you live in a rural area. They're better known as a garden pest than a house one. They'll eat newly planted legumes, roots, bulbs, corms and just about any vegetable matter.

Like all rodents, field mice are adaptable. If they do come to your home they'll seek out grain supplies but will also feast on any unsecured foods they find in your home. Since they also eat insects, a field mouse invasion may indicate an underlying insect infestation.

What Do Wild Mice Eat?

Wild mice native to Britain include the field mouse, the harvest mouse (Micromys minutus) and the yellow-necked mouse (Apodemus flavicollis). Any wild mouse species might move into your home if they find favourable conditions there. They'll start to breed if they're allowed to remain undisturbed and they will eat any food that's not secured in rodent-proof containers.

Wild mice also bring food back to their nests to hoard for later consumption. This habit will attract yet other pests, such as weevils, beetles and other insects. All mouse species can cause damage to your property and may carry disease.

What Do House Mice Eat?

If you see mice in your home or at business premises, it's most likely to be a house mouse (Mus musculus). Unlike wild mice, house mice have a strong, somewhat musty odour. If you have a house mouse invasion you'll probably smell it.

Like their wild cousins, house mice most naturally eat cereals and grain products but they'll adapt to whatever is on offer. This includes pet food, kitchen scraps, meat, vegetables and nuts. To be honest, if it's edible, mice will eat it.

House mice will eat around 10% to 15% of their body weight a day, which might not seem like much as the typical house mouse weighs around 20 to 30 grams. Unfortunately, they don't travel solo and their habit of grazing on a variety of different foods means that they contaminate and spoil far more food than they actually consume.

Just in case you didn't know, mice don't have bladder sphincters so they urinate constantly, this contaminates any food and any surface they come in contact with.

Do Mice Eat Cheese?

Mice will certainly eat cheese if it's on offer. It's a foodstuff, and that's the only essential requirement. However, there's no evidence to suggest it's a preferred food. Research suggests that mice prefer foods that are high in carbohydrates over those which are rich in fat or protein. In tests where mice were offered a choice of grapes, peanuts and cheddar cheese, the cheese was actually avoided while the peanuts were the first choice of food.

Do Mice Eat Pet Food?

Yes, mice will eat pet food. Since some people are less careful about storing pet food in sealed containers than they are about their own food, mice might zone in on pet supplies as the easiest source of the nutrition they need. Mice will gnaw through paper or cardboard containers or plastic bags to get to the food within. And if food is left in the bowl, especially overnight a mouse might well come straight to the bowl to help themselves.

Do Mice Like Chocolate?

Yes. Mice like chocolate, especially milk chocolate which has a lot of sugar added to it. While little specific research has been done on the subject, it appears that mice are relatively tolerant to theobromine. This is the ingredient in chocolate that makes it toxic to dogs or cats. High levels of theobromine might not be good for mice but as the highest levels are found in unsweetened dark chocolate which mice aren't so keen on, it's unlikely that they'd ever eaten enough of it to kill them.

Do Mice Eat Clothes?

Chewed or shredded clothes might be a sign of a mouse invasion but cloth, natural or manmade, isn't a foodstuff for mice. Mice will chew on clothes and other fabrics for several reasons:

  • Clothes are shredded, torn and taken away by female mice to help build and line their nests
  • The clothes might have picked up an odour that smells good to the mice
  • Mice just chew constantly - it's a way of keeping their teeth, which never stop growing, trimmed.

On the subject of chewing and gnawing constantly, mice can damage the fabric of your home. They'll gnaw on wood, nest in upholstered furniture and are notorious for chewing through the insulation around electrical cables which can be a significant fire risk.

Do Mice Eat Grass?

Mice can eat grass but it's not a top choice for them. The grass is hard to digest and not particularly high in calories so it's not a terribly useful food for mice. They much prefer seeds, vegetables, insects, berries, or the food they can scavenge from your home.

Takeaways

  • There are several mouse species native to Great Britain - any of them might invade your home if the conditions there are favourable for them.
  • Securing all food supplies is a vital part of mice control - that means storing food in hard plastic, glass, or metal containers.
  • Mice will eat just about anything - they have preferred foods but they're really not fussy.
  • Mice spoil far more food than they eat - any food that a mouse has gnawed on may be contaminated with a range of different disease-causing microorganisms.
  • Mice also cause property damage - they'll shred clothing or cloth to make nests and gnaw constantly. It's not unknown for mice to damage electrical cables.

Securing food supplies is a good start in making your property less attractive to rodents, including mice. If you're unlucky enough to experience a mouse infestation additional measures may be necessary to eliminate the problem.

If you need advice or help with mice control or any other pest treatment Fantastic Pest Control is here for you and you can contact us 24 hours a day.

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Disclaimer

As a commercial service provider, we only aim to inform you about what do mice eat according to the professional experience and knowledge of our pest technicians. 

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