Life Cycle of Mice
Having knowledge about the life cycle of mice can help you combat this pest, and understand why they are so very common.
If you spot mice in your home, you must do something about or else it is just a matter of time before the problem escalates to an infestation.
Unless you want to keep a mouse as a pet your home should be out of bounds for these pesky rodents because they can bring illnesses like salmonella, typhus, and plague.
For you to win a fight with an enemy, you should gather as much information about them as you can. That way you know what you can do to beat them. Similarly, a fight against mice requires you to know much about them, particularly their lifecycle.
How Long Does the Life Cycle of Mice Last?
The duration of a life cycle of mice varies, but in a case where it spends its time indoors, it can live up to about three years before it dies naturally.
However, outdoor mice may live for a shorter period, about 12 months on average. This is due to the fact they are more vulnerable to attacks by predators. Plus, the conditions out there may sometimes be harsh for them, such as extremely cold weather.
Therefore, if they are in your house, expect them to live two to three years before they die if you don’t do something to eradicate them.
Additionally, don’t forget that they will reproduce, and their population will keep on increasing if it is not controlled.
In the life cycle of mice, the lifespan of a mouse is not much different from other mammals of their size, but the rate at which they breed is quite alarming.
An adult female mouse gives birth to a litter of baby mice 19 to 21 days after a successful mating.
The total number of mice born at the same time ranges from 3 to 8, but sometimes they can be as many as 12.
Baby mice are born furless and without ears or the ability see yet. Upon birth, a mouse is usually tiny, about quarter-size, and has a weight similar to a sheet of paper.
Some people call baby mice ‘pinkies’ because their hairless bodies are pink in color within a few days. However, for those whose adults are dark, the pigmentation of their skin starts three days after their birth.
Four days after birth a baby mouse will have fully developed ears while hair starts to grow two days later. By the time mice turn ten days old, it has a fully developed coat of fur.A baby mouse will have its eyes closed until 10 to 14 days after birth. By this time the mice will also have the ability to move around and feed on solid foods.
At this stage in the life cycle of mice, they remain in their nests during the entire period. Therefore it is unlikely to see baby mice anywhere else.
This stage in the life cycle of mice happens at 14 days of birth. A young mouse is mobile and can nibble solid foods. It has fully developed fur, eyesight, and can hear.
This is the time at which the mouse starts to become independent. It can move out of the nest to search for food. The foods that the mouse eats depend on its surroundings, but it will mostly prefer the diet that its mother ate when she was pregnant.
Generally, mice are nearly all scavengers; they can eat almost everything including fresh or decomposing fruits, seeds, cereals, and insects.
Although juvenile mice can go hunting for food on their own, they are still too young to feed themselves. Therefore they remain under the care of their mothers until 21 days after birth.
When a mouse turns 21 days old, it is weaned from its mother, and it becomes an adult from then henceforth. From there they can chew your food, clothes, and other possessions.
The majority of adult male mice leave their nests immediately after they turn 21 days old to look for food, and possibly other shelter grounds.
On the other hand, females will stick around their dens for a short time before going out to search for food, and perhaps other places where they can nest.
Reproduction of Mice
A mouse, regardless of its sex, gains reproduction capability once it attains the age of about 42 days. A male mouse ‘sings’ ultrasonic songs which people can’t hear to attract a female. It also releases a certain scent (pheromones) as a way of calling her for a mating spree. However, a human can’t detect the scent.
Female mice can give birth 18 to 21 days after mating, and do so when she’s as young as 60 days old.
A female goes into heat for 4-5 days, and if she mates with a male within that period, it is very likely she will get pregnant. The gestation period of a mouse ranges from 19 to 21 days after which it gives birth to a litter of baby mice. In most cases, a female mouse gives birth five to ten litters in a single year.
Mice give birth without struggle or pain, and that’s possibly why she can mate as soon as she gives birth. Also, she can conceive within at least four days after delivery. Therefore, if she manages to conceive four days after giving birth, she can deliver another litter just 25 days after the birth of the first litter.
That’s how the mouse will continue to give birth until the day she dies. If she’s lucky enough to live for the average lifespan, that is two years, or so, her great grannies will have started to give birth.
Interestingly, one female mouse gives birth to 25 to 60 babies in a year on average. Female mice are caring and protective of their young, but if exposed to highly stressing conditions such as famine, they are likely to eat their young.
The Final Word
Don’t ‘wait and see’ when you notice a mouse indoors. It can be the start of a serious mice infestation that could expand in just a few months.
In general, mice breed during all seasons except winter because it is too cold for them, so they spend most of that time hibernating. However, when in indoor environments, mice can breed any time of the year.
For example, if two female mice enter your home, and each become pregnant, they can give birth to roughly eight baby mice, so you’ll be dealing with at least 18 mice in two months if the mothers and young ones survive.
That’s how fast a mouse problem escalates to a severe infestation.
It is advised that you stop the life cycle of mice as early as possible to avoid their numbers growing. If you suspect that you are dealing with numerous mice, you can seek help from a reputable pest control expert.***
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