"I don’t think we’ll ever know all there is to know about gardening, and I’m just as glad there will always be some magic about it!"

Barbara Damrosch

 home’s landscaping

Updating your home’s landscaping is a great way to increase the value of your property and create outdoor spaces for relaxing and entertaining. Unique ideas here will make your garden fit for a king

Landscape design is an independent profession and a design and art tradition, practised by landscape designers, combining nature and culture. In contemporary practice, landscape design bridges the space between landscape architecture and garden design.


Mice Evidence of Intrusion

Mice evidence of intrusion can be easy to recognize. The question in most people’s minds is how to determine if they a problem with mice. There are plenty of ways to determine if house or field mice have moved onto your property, or worse, into your home. Read through the following techniques to help you recognize the common house and field mice evidence of intrusion.

Mice Evidence of Intrusion- Tracks

Mice tracks made outdoors will be easily visible on soft ground. Look for tracks next to buildings in newly planted seed beds. Inside, you may want to sprinkle flour along a suspected pathway and rolled it smooth with soup can or other cylindrical object. Look for tracks in the flour the following morning. Mouse tracks will look like;

Mice Evidence of Intrusion-Urine Marks

Mice don’t have the hygiene practices we do and as such you may find urine stains along frequently traveled areas. If you have an ultraviolet lamp handy, you can shine along suspected pathways. The mouse urine will glow under the light and you will be able to use this as evidence of intrusion.

Mice Evidence of Intrusion-Scat

Mouse scat, droppings, excrement, or whatever term you may use to describe mouse poop is quiet discernable from other pests. They are very small, cylindrical pellets that have are reminiscent of candy coated sprinkles found on sugary desserts, minus the fruity color. They are normally about ¼ inch long and black in color. If you observe them under a magnifying glass you will also not distinctive longitudinal ridges with straight edges.

Mice Evidence of Intrusion-Smudge Marks

Smudge marks are often left behind along areas where house mice regularly travel. They are caused by oil and dirt rubbing off their fur. Look for smudge marks along rafters, pipes and walls.

Mice Evidence of Intrusion-Gnawing

To keep their ever growing incisors at a reasonable length evidence of gnawing will be in any area where they have set up residence. Look for chewed up edges on doors and in wall corners. Stored wood and other material stored for any length of time may also prove irresistible to these little rodents. If they have chewed a hole by which to gain access to your building, the holes will be anywhere from ¼ inch to 1 and ½ inches in diameter.

Mice Evidence of Intrusion-Sounds

These little mammals can be heard. Listen for them climbing through the walls, across the ceilings and talking to each other.

Mice Evidence of Intrusion-Nests

Most people find nests during regular cleaning activities. Nests are made of shredded materials such as paper, insulation, etc. They are about four (4) to six (6) inches in diameter and often smell like urine.

Mice Evidence of Intrusion-Smell

Mice have another evidentiary trait specific to them; they stink. Mice have a musky odor that has a nasty way of permeating through insulation and ceilings and into our living areas.

Mice are the most prevalent mammal to coexist with humans. They can find their way into our homes, barns, gardens and yards. They seem to have a knack for finding our food stores and wood piles and as such they leave plenty of signs as evidence of intrusion.

Mice Interesting Facts

Mice interesting facts are numerous. A fact that shouldn’t be unexpected considering mice are as prevalent as humans in North America. In this section some of the more interesting points about mice are highlighted.

  • Mus musculus includes as many as seven (7) separate species. These include Mus domesticus, western European house mice, and Mus castaneus, southeastern Asian house mice.
  • House mice tend to have longer tails and darker fur when living closely with humans.
  • Mice can reproduce year round. Some mice have been recorded as have 12 litters in one (1) year!
  • Males, while taking on more than one (1) mate during their short lifespan, will often take quite an interest in helping to raise their young.
  • Mice have ever growing incisors that must be used in order to prevent overgrowth.
  • House mice densities can be as high as ten (10) mice per square mile when they live with humans.
  • Have you ever heard of “Dancing" mice? Some people call house mice dancing mice because some mice have been seen doing an interesting two-step. While this may be enjoyable sight to behold, unfortunately for the mouse it is most likely due to a genetic defect that affects the inner ear of the rodent causing it move in circles and zig zags.
  • Singing mice is another nickname many have coined for their furry visitors. These folks may have mice that have a pathological condition that causes them sing constantly in a manner likened to that of a cricket.
  • Field mice could be referred to as nature’s musicians. This is due to a unique behavior not seen in other mice. They have been seen, quite regularly, drumming on a hollow reed or a dry leaf with their fore paws making a prolonged musical buzzing, the meaning of which hasn’t yet been discovered.
  • Mice are so much a partner in human existence that some researchers have noted that they are second in line as the most prevalent mammal in cities; humans are number one, of course.
    Love ‘em or hate ‘em mice are so prevalent in our lives that we have made images of them into lovable children’s characters. In fact, the most famous mouse in the world is none other than Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse. A favorite of many children and adults everywhere!

Making their homes alongside ours, mice have managed quite successfully to permeate their way into our ever day existence. From Mickey Mouse cartoons to viral infections, mice run the gamut between friend and foe leading to quite a few mice interesting facts.

Mice Diet

Mice diet is a varied as the human diet. They are not shy about trying something new and will often partake in the scraps left in the garbage. It is this free spirit regarding diet that makes mice quite brave around humans.

Mice Diet-Food

Favorite foods that make up the house mice diet are cereals, grasses, seeds and other grains. They will take food from the garden and the field. They will take food from your cupboards and counters. House mice, and field mice alike, will have a field day in your trash can, too. In the end, the house mouse is the least discriminating eater you may come across. They will eat anything edible. This will include insects, carrion and meats, butters and candies. It is not out of the realm of truth to say that anything that is not poisonous makes up the house mouse diet.

Field mice are more likely to visit your garden for dinner than the house mouse. Their favorites include berries, apples, pears and apple tree and pear tree bark, peaches, peppers, tomatoes, tulip bulbs, grains such as oats and wheat, corn, beans, and nuts. They also enjoy fungi.

Water is not as important for their survival. They can actually survive quite successfully with little or no liquid water. Instead they get the water from their food. There are repercussions to inadequate water in the food, however. A diet with poor moisture content will affect the house mouse’s ability to breed.

Mice Diet-Physical Attributes

As successful a species as most, it should be no surprise that mice have a whole range of physical attributes to help them in their quest to keep hunger at bay. This attributes range from the senses to their running power.

Mice, house and field, have an incredible sense of smell to assist them in fulfilling their diet needs. This keen sense allows them to pass up many poisons or foods that may be too rancid to eat.

Mice are able to fit through the tiniest of openings to get to their dinner. In fact, they can fit though a hole as small as ¼ inch.

Mice have ever growing incisors that allow for their ability to eat most anything, including your trees and shrubs!

Don’t expect water features won’t deter them either. Both house and field mice are excellent swimmers and will traverse small creeks and streams to get to your finest seeds. Dangerous predators might not present a problem because these little mammals and make a dash of eight (8) miles per hour to evade the fastest owl in order to get to their next meal.

Mice Diet-Benefits and Detriments to Humans and the Ecosystem

The diet of the house mouse as many detriments. In the yard they will eat newly planted seeds and plants quickly destroying a day’s work in the spring garden.

Woody shrubs and trees are also damaged by the house and field mice diet. In late winter when food is scarce mice will not hesitate to enjoy the smaller wood stems of trees and shrubs in your yard. In addition, the field mice diet may also inhibit the growth of important forest trees including pines and oaks because they eat so enjoy partaking in their tender seeds.

Benefits of the mouse diet are not numerous but they do exist. In fact, the white footed mouse is actually hailed for doing their part to enhance the nutrient uptake of forest trees. Field mice, which hold various kinds of fungi at the top of their favorite food lists, spread the spores of the fungi throughout the forest in their excrement. The fungi spores enter the soil where they work their magic with the trees.

Both the house mice and field mice are credited with eating insects that humans may consider to be pests, the quantities are not normally sufficient to be of benefit.

Mice Habitat

Mouse habitat is one of the most varied of all animals on earth. While field mouse habitat is more limited, house mice are called commensal animals. This means they can live anywhere humans live including structures such as homes, sheds, barns. Indeed the house mouse lives in more common mammal areas in the wild including fields and forests, but they are never too far from manmade structures to which they will retreat once the weather turns cooler. It is this dependence on human structures and their ability to enter these structures that allow for the house mouse to live in most every habitat on earth.

Overall mice are found in deserts and tundras; forests and cities. House mice habitats include swamps and meadows; mountainous regions and in the mine shafts hundreds of feet below the surface of the planet!

Mice Habitat-Range

The overall range of the house mouse habitat is as extensive as range of humans. They occupy every continent on earth exclusive of Antarctica. On the home front, however, the animals will stick fairly close to their home habitat. It would be rare to find a mouse that travels more than fifty (50) feet from their nesting site.

Field mice habitat range is limited to the eastern portion of North America with a home habitat range of less than fifty (50) feet.


Mice Habitat-Nests

The house mouse nesting sites vary based on location. While they prefer human structures to make their nests in, in many cases they will live out of doors during the warmer months.

Nesting habitat in the outdoors is most always near to the ground. Mice may burrow into the ground to create a nest or take up residency in the cracks in walls and large rocks. The burrows could include a network of tunnels. This network will have separate “rooms” for nesting and storing food. To keep from being ambushed, these smart little mammals will make several exits for a quick escape if needed.

The nests themselves will be made out shredded leaves, paper, and other soft materials. The nests are commonly rounded and range from four (4) to six (6) inches in diameter.

When they decide to share your home with you they will make their nests in rafters, stored clothing or artificial holiday trees. The nests will be the same size as the outdoor nests and consist of any soft materials they can get their paws on including insulation and old clothing.

Field mice will make their nests in hollow logs and stumps or woodpecker holes. Their nests are same size as the house mouse and made of softer materials including fur, feathers, leaves and grasses. As with the house mice, field mice shred the material to be used in their nests.

While the range of the field mouse is limited, it is pretty clear that house mice can live anywhere humans live. In fact, it is this near dependence of the mammal on humans that has made the whole of the world perfect house Mice Habitat.

Mice Benefits & Detriments to Humans and the Ecosystem

Mice can cause serious distress to households. They will chew and tear household items including furniture, upholstery and clothes. These items can also be contaminated with feces and urine. Stored food can be contaminated, too. This chewing can be particularly troublesome when it the mice chew through electrical wiring which can potentially lead to fires.

House mice can be very detrimental to humans due to the fact that they are often vectors for, or carry, disease. They have been connected to the spread of salmonella, rickets, rickettsial pox, bubonic plague, typhus, leptospirosis, tapeworms, ring worms and swine dysentery. Recently researches have shown that they carry the mammary tumor virus (MMTV) that is now being studied to determine if it is linked to breast cancer in humans.

Field mice can also be harmful to humans. They often carry deer ticks that are vectors for Lyme disease and may carry the bacteria for Four-Corners disease. Watch out for their excrement as it too may carry a disease harmful to humans, the hantavirus.

Mice do offer value to the medical community in that they are often used in medical testing. An additional benefit is that they are an important prey animal to their many predators. Cats, red fox, weasels, ferrets, mongooses, larger lizards, snakes, hawks, falcons and owls are all predators of house and field mice.

Mice Behavior

House mice are most commonly active at night, nocturnal. They are quite happy to make their rounds looking for food while the majority of their predators are asleep; including humans.

On the private side, house mice are rather promiscuous. Mating with more than one partner, their polygamous mating system is one factor of their reproductive success. Not only do these tiny mammals share partners, they have the ability to mate several times per year. The average female will give birth to five (5) to ten (10) litters annually!

Pregnancy or gestation in mice lasts only 19 to 21 days resulting in the birth of five (5) to six (6) babies. Babies are born hairless and blind, yet are fully furred, bright eyed, ready to leave mom by three (3) weeks of age and ready to start a family of their own at five (5) to seven (7) weeks old!

Despite the fact the average lifespan of house mice is only about two (2) years; it is easy to see how a mouse family can increase very, very quickly.

Field mice have similar reproductive capabilities; however, the mice in the northern portions of North America do not reproduce year round and rarely have more than four (4) litters per year. The average life span of the field mouse is one (1) year.

As with many nocturnal animals house mice have very poor vision and are actually considered color blind. They use their whiskers to help sense distances and obstacles and rely more on their other senses for survival.

Mice communicate both vocally and with their v, and just recently, scientists have determined that male mice make an ultrasonic song in response to female sex pheromones and those sounds may be used by female in choosing a mate.

They use certain pheromones to communicate socially as well. Some are used to distinguish families from others and within the family to determine social hierarchy.

Mice Physical Appearance

House mice are very small weighing only 2/5 to 4/5 of an ounce! They have a pointed nose, protruding eyes, and large ears (think Mickey Mouse). The tail of mice is long, making up 50% of their overall length, and hairless with noticeable scaly rings. The coloring of mice varies but they will commonly have grayish brown fur with a buff colored belly.

Field mice are about the same size, but differ in color. Field mice, also called white footed mice, have both a white belly and feet.

They are quite agile with the ability to climb a vertical wall and jump a vertical height of 12 inches!

Mice Natural History

House Mice are native to Europe and are said to have traveled to North America with the first colonists. Mice belong to the classification family, Muridae, also known as the Old World mice. Field mice are native to the eastern portions of North America.

House Mice/Field Mice

Scientific Name: Mus musculus/Peromyscus leucopis
Phylum: Chordata/Chordata
Class: Mammalia/Mammalia
Order: Rodentia/Rodentia
Family: Muridae/Muridae
Genus: Mus/Peromyscus
Species: musculus/leucopis

Mice are one of the most widespread animals on earth. Indeed there are over 700 various species considered to be mice by scientists. The information on this page will be most specific to the common house mouse, Mus musculus, and the field mouse, Peromyscus leucopis.

Considered commensal animals, wherever people go the tiny house mouse follows. Into your garden, your shed, your woodpile, your basement your garage, and even your car, this little mammal can do quite a bit of damage in their attempt to coexist with us in places we consider to be our domain.

Their scientific name derives from the Sanskrit musha, meaning "thief.” Indeed they manage to steal food, garden harvests, and at times piece of mind from homeowners who have found the house mouse has moved in.