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How to Distinguish Field Mice from House Mice

Field Mice or House Mice?

The term field mouse can refer to several types of small rodents, including house mice. However, the deer mouse is most often associated with the name field mouse. Both house mice and deer mice are common pests in homes that may contaminate stored food and damage wood, insulation, and wiring.

Field Mouse vs. House Mouse Differences

There are a few key differences between a house mouse and a field mouse. House mice are light brown or gray, and their coats are a solid color. On the other hand, deer mice have brown or tan fur with white bellies, legs, and feet. Deer mouse tails are also dark on top and light underneath, while house mice have almost hairless tails.

Another difference between house mice and field mice is the way they store their food. A deer mouse will hoard stolen crumbs and seeds near its nest, but this behavior is less common for a house mouse. Other than appearance and food storage, signs of a house mouse or field mouse infestation, like droppings and nests, are similar.

Differences in Habitat

Both species are comfortable in meadows, forests, or homes. House mice and field mice make their way indoors when temperatures cool in the fall. However, deer mice don't generally live in residential or urban areas unless there are open fields, forests, or parks nearby.

Deer Mouse Dangers

Deer mice are carriers of the virus that causes Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, a respiratory illness that can be fatal in humans. Clear identification of a field mouse versus a house mouse is critical to understanding the health risks and undertaking proper prevention and control. Contact the pest experts at Orkin for assistance with field mice or house mice in homes.


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