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Field Mice vs. House Mice: 6 Key Differences

June 01, 2021 - Mice

While field mice and house mice do share some similar traits, there are plenty of key differences between the two that you can use to differentiate between species. The main ways in which these rodents differ are as follows:

1. Body

Field mice: Field mice are usually brown or gray fur with lighter colored bellies, have bodies that are around 3-4 inches in length, and have a shorter, hairless tail.

House mice: House mice are a lighter brown or gray fur, have bodies that are usually 2-3.5 inches in length, and have longer tails that do have hair. 

2. Behavior & Habitat

Field mice: Field mice, which are usually found in more rural areas, are not usually social creatures and tend to create their nests underground or inside trees for warmth and protection.   

House mice: House mice, which are usually found in more urban areas, are naturally curious and social and create their nests in quiet places such as garages, attics, or beneath shrubbery. 

3. Diet

Field mice: With a diet that usually consists of grass and seeds, field mice tend to gather their food and bring it back to their nest to store. 

House mice: House mice eat anything from seeds and grains in the wild to crumbs of human food, as well as insects such as crickets and cockroaches.

4. Life Cycle

Field mice: Field mice usually average a lifespan of 12 to 14 months. 

House mice: House mice don't live quite as long, with an average lifespan of 9 to 12 months.

5. Dangers

Field mice: Field mice are known carriers of a virus that can cause a fatal respiratory illness in humans. 

House mice: House mice may be carrying diseases that can be transmitted to humans and may also bring with them fleas or ticks, which could be carrying Lyme disease or other illnesses. 

6. Droppings

Field mice: Field mice leave behind droppings that tend to have more pointed ends.

House mice: House mice leave behind urine with a strong odor and droppings that are more round and elongated, like grains of rice. 

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