The house mouse, mostly brownish grey in colour, has an excellent sense of hearing, smell and taste, but has poor sight and is colour blind.
It weighs approximately 15 grams and is approximately 60-90mm from head to body. It sometimes burrows, lives indoors and outdoors but is almost unknown in sewers. It nests generally within stored materials and climbs. It is erratic in habit and inquisitive towards new objects. It has a range of 1.5 - 5 metres. The house mouse nibbles, prefers cereals, consumes 3 grams per day and, unlike rats, can survive with very little water and often obtains sufficient water in food without the need to drink. The life cycle of the house mouse is 9-12 months, reaching sexual maturity at around 6 weeks. Litter size: 5-6 offspring with a reproduction rate of 8 litters per year.
Mice are more of a problem in buildings because they live indoors. They are more liable to cause fires by gnawing cables and they can damage insulation in animal housing causing costly heat loss and expensive replacement.
Mice carry diseases such as Salmonella and they can also transmit a type of Leptospirosis, but not Weil's disease. Their continual dribble of urine contaminates food and feedstuffs. They are a particular problem in grain stores, warehouses, shops, hospitals and even domestic premises.
Entering a new location through gaps as small as 6mm, mice build nests which are hard to find, populating an area with new colonies quickly with devastating effect. Because mice can reach sexual maturity 42 days after birth, populations grow much faster than those of rats, which take about twice the time to reach maturity.
Traditional methods such as mouse traps have limited effect on mice infestations. Poisons available from stores, if used strictly in adherence with label directions, are more effective.
Cheese is not the preferred bait to use on mouse traps, preferably use chocolate - a slither of chocolate melted onto the mouse trap prong is all that is required.
Mice are not deterred by a trap that has previously caught a mouse, it can be reset immediately.