7 Common Types of Mice and What Do They Look Like
Whenever we see a small hairy creature we just assume it’s a mouse. When in fact there are numerous types of mice.
Mice belong to the mammalian family. They all have big glassy eyes, big ears, thin long tails, and snouted noses.
One of the smallest mammals on the planet they are found in every corner of every country. Often compared with the rat, the mouse is actually smaller and nocturnal.
They are very successful survivors despite being preyed upon by loads of animals like the fox, hawk, wolf, reptile, and cat, to name a few.
Making up around 40% of the mammal class there are various types of mice and classes of mice:
Types of Mice
The House Mouse
The Mus musculus is one of the most common types of mice we see in our homes.
- Usually 3 to 3.5 inches in length, with a 3 inch tail as well.
- Greyish-brown or yellow-brown with a lighter belly and a small head.
- Originating in Asia they are mostly found in the United States and Southern Canada.
- You can find them primarily in places like the attic because they prefer spaces that are elevated.
- These spaces allow them to build nests and gnaw away at any materials.
The Harvest Mouse
Also known as Reithrodontomys these types of mice are strictly nocturnal.
- They have very long and narrow tails.
- A call which can be heard by people around dusk.
- All are around 2 to 2.5 inches in length with a tail length of 2.5 to 3 inches.
- While most of their tails are furry, some are naked, and they are all pretty much bi-colored.
- Includes the following types: Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse, Western Harvest Mouse, Plains Harvest Mouse, Fulvous Harvest Mouse, Eastern Harvest Mouse, Eastern Harvest Mouse, and Northern Pygmy Mouse.
The Deer Mouse
Another name for these types of mice is the Peromyscus, and are often mixed up with House Mice because of their similar habitats.
- Very nocturnal, so much so that they will not move out of their nests if the weather looks bad.
- Have a habit of burrowing which can over time damage foundations of homes.
- They chew away at materials like copper, plastic, lead, wood, and other underground materials.
- Being able to gnaw on these is also an indication of their extremely strong teeth.
- They are all around 3 to 4 inches in size with a tail ranging from 2 to 4 inches long.
- Their bodies are mostly dark brown on the back with shades of grey-brown and orange. Their bellies are whitish or pale with bi-colored tails.
- Includes the following types: American Deer Mouse, White-Footed Mouse, Golden Mouse, White-Ankled Mouse, Canyon Mouse, California Mouse, Old field Mouse, Texas Mouse, Cactus Mouse, Pinon Mouse, Brush Mouse, and the Northern Rock Mouse.
The Jumping Mouse
Also known as Dipodidae these are not closely related to the other families of mice.
- Most have very long tails and extremely long feet as well.
- Come in many different colors, but primarily dark brown with hints of orange on the sides, and cream white bellies.
- Considered to be one of the most attractive of all rodent families.
- They are named jumping mice because they can jump up to 10 feet in a single jump.
- Their bodies are around 3.5 inches in length with longer tails ranging from 5 to 5.5 inches.
- This family of mice includes the Meadow Jumping Mouse, Western Jumping Mouse, Pacific Jumping Mouse and Grasshopper Mice.
Also known as Onychomys they are called grasshopper mice because they are very small in size and have tiny tails as well.
- One of the few types of mice that are carnivorous, and love to feed on insects.
- Their body sizes are around 3 to 4.25 inches, while their tails are only a mere 1.5 to 2 inches in length.
- The back colors on them are mostly orange browns, grey browns, lights browns, and their bellies are a white grey or cream grey.
- Their small tails have white tips and the top is brown in color.
- They stand on their hind legs as a sign of dominance.
- This family includes the Southern Grasshopper Mouse, Mearn’s Grasshopper Mouse, and the Northern Grasshopper Mouse.
This is the Heteromyidae family, known to have large heads and long tails. Their feet are modified to be able to dig, and they have tiny ears. Their pouches have a furry lining to them, and their hind feet are small in size. These mice do not enter homes much but prefer to spend their time outside and in burrows.Pocket mice usually have long and crested tails with long hind feet and naked soles.
- They are a desert species.
- Range from 3 to 3.5 inches in length and their tails are 4 to 4.75 inches long.
- They are sandy brown in color with white bellies and bi-colored tails.
- The types are California Pocket Mouse, San Diego Pocket Mouse, Spiny Pocket Mouse, Nelson’s Pocket Mouse, Desert Pocket Mouse, Rock Pocket Mouse, Bailey’s Pocket Mouse, Baja Pocket Mouse, Long-Tailed Pocket Mouse, and Hispid Pocket Mouse.
Soft Furred Pocket Mice, on the other hand, have shiny and silky fur.
- Like to take dust baths while being a native of the desert.
- They have smaller bodies and tails below 3 inches long.
- Their backs are usually orange or grey, and some have brown grizzles.
- The types are White-Eared Pocket Mouse, San Joaquin Pocket Mouse, Arizona Pocket Mouse, Little Pocket Mouse, Silky Pocket Mouse, Merriam’s Pocket Mouse, Great Basin Pocket Mouse, Plains Pocket Mouse, and Olive-Backed Pocket Mouse.
Kangaroo MiceThe Microdipodops resemble kangaroo rats but are smaller than their rodent counterparts.
- They have hairy and thick tails with no crest.
- Their body length is around 2.75 inches, while their tails are longer at 3.5 inches.
- Their back colors are usually grey, sometimes shades of yellow and pink mixed in with grey.
- The fur is very soft and silky, and their bellies are a cream white.
- The Dark Kangaroo Mouse has a bi-colored tapered tail with a dark tip, the Pale Kangaroo Mouse has quite the opposite with a pink tail that is white underneath and has a tuft at the tip.
As you can see we have covered quite a few types of mice. Hopefully, this will help you to identify the type of mouse you are having trouble with.***