Deer Mice

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name:

Peromyscus maniculatus


deer mouse image
  • Head – Pointed nose and large, black beady eyes. Ears are large with little fur covering them.
  • Body – Round and slender, ranging from 7 to 10 cm long in body length. Body is bicolored with a light brownish-reddish top and white underbelly and feet.
  • Tail – Tail is short, distinctly bicolored (dark on top and light on bottom), and covered with short, fine hairs and can be 5 to 13 cm in length.

Read more about what a Deer Mouse looks like.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

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.

Winter activity
In winter, deer mice enter domestic spaces in search of food and warmth. Their nests are constructed of fur, weeds, seed and paper. Although they become sluggish during cold months, deer mice do not hibernate.

Deer mice hoard food supplies and actively forage for food near their nesting sites.

What they eat
Deer mice are primarily herbivorous, but will also consume other things. They prefer:

  • seeds
  • nuts
  • small fruits
  • berries
  • insects


Reaches sexual maturity in about 7 to 8 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 24 months, but can live as long as eight years in captivity.

Signs of a Deer Mouse Infestation

Sightings of deer mice as well as their nests or gnawed objects are main signs of deer mouse activity.

More Information

Deer Mouse Illustration
Deer Mouse Illustration

Deer mice may appear harmless, but they are known carriers of dangerous diseases such as hantavirus. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome can develop from inhaling the virus when deer mouse urine or feces is disturbed. Utmost care should be employed when disposing of deer mouse droppings. A OSHA-approved respirator with a functioning cartridge should be worn. The droppings and urine should be sprayed with disinfectant before sweeping them up.

If suspect you have deer mice, contact a pest management professional.

How to Get Rid of Deer Mice

Deer Mouse Droppings

What Do Deer Mice Look Like?