Deer Mouse

Actual Size: 5” to 8” long including the tail

Characteristics: Gray to reddish-brown with white feet and underbelly.

Habitat: Build nests in trees or beneath logs outdoors; inside, often found in basements or attics.

Habits: 

  • Prefer to nest in dark outdoor areas.
  • Sometimes referred to as field mice or white-footed mice.
  • Transmits the potentially fatal Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome.
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Deer Mice in Nevada

Deer mice are also quite common in the west. They are generally two-toned in appearance, with a lighter (often white) underbelly. Most will have a bi-colored tail. They may grow to around 7″ in length, and can also access areas roughly the size of a dime because of their smaller frames. Deer mice are accomplished jumpers and skilled runners as opposed to the house mouse. The common name of the “deer” mouse refers to these abilities.

Deer mice use their sharp teeth to eat just about anything they can find — they can chew through hard shells and will eat anything from vegetation to snails. Deer mice will also cache their food, often utilizing attic or crawl spaces to do so. In many areas, the winter cold is a chief cause of mortality; however, due to the desert’s mild winter climate, they tend to thrive.

Deer Mouse Habitat

Although they rarely infest homes, deer mice are nonetheless dangerous in farming areas, vacation homes, sheds, and more. They most often find shelter in old fence posts, piles of debris, or hollow tree logs, and more. When they do make their way inside homes (often in the winter to escape the cold), they will seek shelter in attics, basements, furniture, and wall voids. They typically feed on insects, seeds, nuts, berries, and other small fruits.

Deer Mouse Behaviors & Dangers

Throughout most of the year, deer mice nest in outdoor areas that are quiet, dark, and undisturbed. When the weather gets colder during winter, deer mice tend to invade homes, garages, sheds, and sometimes even vehicles. When they get indoors, they are often found in basements or attics. The biggest threat of deer mice is that they are able to transmit the dangerous—and potentially fatal—hantavirus. This disease is often transmitted through contact with mouse carcasses, or by breathing in air-borne urine droplets from infected deer mice.

If you have noticed deer mice in or near your Las Vegas area home, contact your local rodent exterminators for help!