The Deer Mouse

These rural, nature-loving deer mice rarely will invade your home but can be a major nuisance in agricultural areas, sheds, outbuildings, and even vacation homes. These mice might look cute and cuddly, but if you notice an infestation you must act quickly, as they can carry nasty diseases such as Hantavirus.


Deer mice are small, only growing to around eight inches in size. They are found throughout the United States and have a rotund shape atop four legs. They are usually brown with white feet and a white underbelly. These mice look similar to house mice and white-footed mice, except for the crucial difference that deer mice rarely enter homes. They are usually found in rural locations and will only venture indoors during the cooler months, preferring locations such as garages and sheds.

Appearance, Behavior, and Signs

Deer Mouse

Deer Mouse

Deer mice feed at dusk and dawn, so you are more likely to see them during these times. They eat just about anything, including nuts, seeds, insects, and fruit. They tend to nest in sheltered areas, such as beneath hollow logs or piles of debris. However, they often come inside during the cold winter months to seek shelter inside attics and basements. They can also build their nests in abandoned locations such as drawers, wall voids, and even old storage boxes or furniture.

These mice breed during the spring and summer, and build their nests in cavities near the roots of trees, beneath logs, or in tunnels built by other creatures. They reach sexual maturity in only eight weeks, with female mice producing up to four litters of five individuals a year–and often more than that! Deer mice can also nest above ground in places such as woodpiles or old bird nests. Deer mice are nocturnal and are most likely to be spotted during dawn, dusk, or at night as they forage for food and water. They typically live up to two years but can live longer in ideal conditions.


The easiest way to prevent your likelihood of a deer mice infestation is to make sure all holes and crevices smaller than a pencil diameter are sealed. Mice can squeeze through spaces that are much smaller than them, so getting rid of any potential access points is key. Make sure your foundation has proper drainage, and consider installing gutters or diverts to keep water away from your house, as they will be attracted to the easy source of water.


These mice can be controlled and eliminated in the same way you might treat for regular house mice infestations. You can set glue boards, snap traps, or other types of mouse traps, or consider using a baiting program. Bait can be highly effective, however, this should be placed with caution if you have children or pets in the house that may interfere with the bait.

Deer mice can be difficult to deal with because they are known to carry so many unpleasant diseases. If you’re unsure of how to deal with an infestation, or if the infestation has grown so large you cannot control it with baits and traps, you should contact a licensed pest control professional.

Deer Mice Facts

Deer mice are one of the few carriers of the deadly Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. This disease which causes symptoms such as fever, chills, and diarrhea, can be transmitted through contact with carcasses or by breathing in urine droplets of deer mice. These mice also carry Lyme disease, so it’s important to get rid of these pests as soon as you notice them. Never handle them directly, and if you’re unsure of how to dispose of them, make sure you leave the work to a certified pest control professional.