Understanding The Life Cycle And Reproduction Rate Of Mice

August 18, 2021

To have a liveable home, you should rid it of household pests. Pests like mice can be a nuisance if left to run wild. Mice are destructive little creatures regarded as one of the most invasive species in the world. Their success can be linked to an active life cycle and a high breeding rate. The house mouse is a small mammal with a pointed snout, hairy body, long naked tail, and small rounded ears.

Mice Life Cycle

First, the females experience heat for a period of 4 to 5 days. After mating and getting pregnant, they give birth three weeks later, giving rise to 6 to 8 pups up to 10 times a year.

The Birth And Growth Of A Mouse

Newborns are blind, hairless, and without ears. They gradually start seeing, moving, and developing fur after two weeks. Mothers nurse them for 21 days, during which the pups grow rapidly. By the fourth day, their ears are fully developed. Their hair starts to grow on the sixth day. And on the tenth to the twelfth day, they have a coat of fur.

Baby Mice In Mouse Nest

The pups are weaned on the twenty-first day, with the males moving away from their mother’s territory while the females remain for some time. Around two months after birth, they reach adulthood, whereby they become sexually mature and active.

Mice Reproduction Rate

It seems all mice do is breed. In a year, a female mouse gets pregnant around 5 to 10 times. After getting pregnant, it only takes between 19 and 21 days to give birth.

Mouse Litter Size

On average, a litter has between 6 and 8 pups, meaning one female mouse can produce at least 30 babies in a year. After giving birth, the female can mate immediately afterward, with a new litter coming up within 25 days. Worse, a female baby mouse matures in 6 weeks and begins reproducing, ensuring continued mice breeding. Again, the indoor environment promotes more reproduction. And within a short time, a mice infestation can become significant. Females continue being reproductive until they die.

Life Span Of Mice

Mice live for about 12 months outdoors compared to around 2 to 3 years indoors. The difference in lifespan is because outside mice are preyed on by large birds. It can also become too hot or too cold outside. Inside the house, mice are not exposed to predators and harsh weather conditions. The obvious implication is that indoor mice have a longer time to cause problems in your home. Add to that their high rate of reproduction, and you can see how problematic mice can be.

The Dangers Of Mice

Be wary of mice in your home because they can lead to the following adverse effects:

  1. They spread lice and diseases.
  2. They damage stuff through gnawing and scratching.
  3. They breed future generations that ensure the infestation persists.
  4. They eat up your food and contaminate it.
  5. They chew on electrical wires and cords, likely causing appliance failures or even starting fires.
  6. Their nests in air ducts cause unpleasant odours indoors.

Signs Of Mice Infestation

Mice can be quiet and manage to stay hidden for quite a while. Below are signs to uncover them:

  • Sights of mice
  • Scratching sounds
  • Scratched or gnawed objects and surfaces
  • A pungent ammonia-like scent
  • Faeces and urine stains
  • Grease marks on walls caused by oil and dirt on the hairs of mice
  • Footprints around less than half an inch long
  • A nest made of soft materials like newspaper

How To Get Rid Of Mice

Here are various proven methods of eradicating mice:

Block Entryways

Use steel wool or any other kind of caulk to seal cracks and holes leading into your house, no matter how tiny they are. Target openings in walls, vents, utility pipes, and the foundation. Sealing off entry points prevents access by mice.

Use Mouse Traps

Lay several traps around your house. Use a mix of glue traps, wooden traps, bait traps, and multiple-capture traps. Using multiple traps ensures even those mice that are familiar with a specific type of trap are caught.

Load up the traps with mouse baits like peanut butter, dried fruit, chocolate, or the kind of food they eat up in your home. You can change the bait if it does not seem to be working.

Place the traps in areas where you see signs of mice like droppings. Make sure the traps are directly in the path of mice so that they run directly into the bait rather than running over it. Change the trap locations after every two days.

Use Bait Stations

A bait station is a poisonous meal wrapped in plastic, paper, or cellophane that mice can gnaw through. When mice eat the bait, they eventually die. The downside of this method is that it is not safe for pets and kids.

Good Sanitary Practices

Clear away food sources such as crumbs by vacuuming rooms and wiping down surfaces associated with cooking and dining. Mice can live on 3 to 4 grams of food a day and are easily attracted to scraps. Do not leave leftovers in the open by putting them in airtight containers. Go a step further and secure the trash can. And remember to remove debris and possible nesting areas.

Get A Cat

Cats are natural predators of mice. Get a cat to help scare away mice from your house.

Apply Peppermint Oil

Mice hate the smell of peppermint oil, which is one of the best mouse repellents. Dip cotton balls in the oil and strategically place them where mice are likely to pass through.

Contact Pest Control Specialists

Professional pest controllers have adequate means of ridding your home of mice. They put the right products and strategies in action to eliminate existing mice and prevent future infestation.

Bottom Line

The presence of mice in your home can cause health, financial, and even social problems. Knowing the life cycle and reproduction rate of mice is the first step in determining how to get rid of a mice infestation effectively.

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