What do mice eat?

As natural survivors, mice have been around for eons. While they’re around all times of the year, you might start to see an increase in mice during mid-Spring and Autumn. This is because those times of the year are both breeding seasons. Ideally, you would want to stop any mice in your property before they can breed and the problem gets worse. By knowing what mice eat, you can reduce the chances that they’ll want to make your property a long-term home.

Mouse lifespans

In the wild, mice typically live for about a year. As a natural prey animal, many animals such as cats and birds eat mice, which reduces their average lifespan. However, in a safe environment–like a house with no predators–they can live up to 6 years.

This means that it’s unlikely they’ll go away on their own in a reasonable amount of time if you don’t take action. And if you have an abundance of food mice eat, they can stay around for a long time.

What do mice eat?

The stereotype is that mice eat cheese, and it’s food that they enjoy–but not their favourite. Mice are omnivores, and there are a lot of other foods mice eat that you might not know about.

What do wild mice eat?

In the wild, mice will eat almost anything they can get their paws on. Fruits, grains, and other foods high in carbohydrates are all foods mice eat. But they aren’t especially picky. While they have favourite foods, a mouse will eat practically anything to ensure its own survival. This might include plant roots, mushrooms, and even tree bark.

Specific foods mice eat

We covered some foods that rodents like in our article What are rodents attracted to? Some foods are much more attractive to them than cheese and can keep them staying around a particular area.

  • Dairy. Contrary to popular belief, cheese isn’t the thing mice love most. In fact, some experts say it’s something they merely tolerate. So where did the idea that mice eat cheese come from? One theory is that cheese was a food that could be easily stockpiled by people in ancient times. And because there was a lot of it around, they would find mice eating it. It’s not that cheese is what mice eat most; it might simply have been what was nearby and plentiful.
  • Meat. Mice will eat meat if they have the opportunity, but it isn’t something they seek out above other food sources. They will eat small insects if they find them but are also happy to eat meat around the house if they get the opportunity.
  • Grains. As a food high in carbohydrates, mice enjoy loading up on grains. Unfortunately, many grains are stored in soft containers like plastic and cardboard. A mouse can easily nibble through these materials and eat the grains within to their heart’s content. If you notice holes in your grains, be on the lookout for other signs of mice, and be careful about eating those particular foods as they may be contaminated.
  • Other things mice will eat. In times of starvation, mice have been known to go to extreme lengths to survive. They’ve been found to show cannibalistic behaviours and will even eat their own tail if they need to. While mice often gnaw on non-food items like electrical wires, this is more of a nesting behaviour than a source of food.

What do mice eat — Favourite foods

While mice will eat almost anything, they have a few favourite foods. You should be careful how you store these foods if you suspect mice.

  • Sugar. Just like with many people, what mice seem to really love is sugary foods. They will gladly eat as much sugar as they can, and have some sugary foods that are particular favourites.
  • Peanut butter. Strangely, mice have shown to have a strong affinity towards peanut butter just like rats. Peanut butter is nutritious and some varieties have a high amount of carbs. Since mice enjoy sugar, peanut butters with added sugars are a bigger draw to them than all-natural peanut butter.
  • Chocolate. If there’s one food mice love more than anything, it’s chocolate. Mice are attracted to the sugar, but also to the unique taste of chocolate. In fact, chocolate is an ideal choice for baiting traps if you don’t have any professional mouse bait around.

Using what mice eat as bait

Once you know what mice eat and what they’re attracted to, you can keep those items stored in stronger containers to keep them out. But you can also use them as part of your pest control strategy.

Chocolate works great, with higher-sugar content being the most favoured. White chocolate works best, then milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is still effective, but a mouse will almost always choose a different kind of chocolate given the option. Chocolate and peanut butter lollies like peanut butter cups are especially attractive to them as they combine two of their favourite foods.

However, special mouse baits tend to work better than anything else. Baits that are scientifically formulated to attract mice draw on their biology to create an attractant more powerful than anything that is naturally occurring. These are designed specifically to attract mice to traps and are your best bet for a home pest control solution.

But what if you still have mice even after trying these baits?

Let us help with pest control in Southland

If you need help with mice, rats, or other pests, call us for pest control in Southland. Our experienced professionals can help you remove pests and reduce the chances of them returning again. You can get a free quote by giving us a call or by filling out the form below.