While rats are certainly skilled at maintaining an incognito presence within homes, no rodent pest is more accustomed to living alongside humans than house mice. House mice are often considered to be primarily indoor-dwelling rodents, and while many house mice do live out their entire lives within homes, they are also capable of living out their entire lives within outdoor habitats. In fact, house mice are able to survive in a variety of different ecoregions, including arctic, hot desert, marshland and rainforest regions. House mice generally favor indoor habitats over outdoor habitats due to the lack of predators, and adverse environmental conditions encountered within structures. Another common rodent pest species that can be found in Maine, the deer mouse, prefers outdoor habitats. Just like house mice, deer mice can survive Maine winters outdoors, but the cold weather prompts these rodents to invade homes during the fall and winter seasons.

Mice that inhabit homes also collect their food sources from within homes, as neither the house mouse nor the deer mouse forage within homes from outdoor nesting sites. In the natural environment, mice can inhabit nests that are located far away from their primary food sources, but within homes, mice generally remain within 30 feet of food sources. House mice tend to feed on a wider variety of stored food items that deer mice, as house mice feed on foods within kitchens, while deer mice prefer to transport small bits of food back to their indoor nests. This means that deer mice only consume food items that they are able to carry for several feet back to their nests. Indoor deer mice will consume whatever is available including pet food, cereal, crumbs, nuts, seeds, insects, flowers and even their own feces. Deer mice are also in the habit of bringing caches of outdoor foods into their indoor nesting sites when first invading a structure. Unfortunately, both deer mice and house mice will not voluntarily leave homes unless the indoor environments they inhabit become more inhospitable than the outdoor environment.

Have you ever found signs of a rodent presence within your kitchen?