Can’t seem to keep mice out of your home, yard, or vehicles? You may be wondering whether mice are attracted to your property because you are offering them easy food sources.
What do mice eat? In this article, we will talk about what wild mice eat as well as which foods mice prefer. We will then offer you some recommendations to help you protect your property from these unwanted intruders.
What Do Wild Mice Eat?
As it turns out, mice will eat just about anything. The University of Michigan reports, “In the wild, house mice eat many kinds of plant matter, including seeds, roots, leaves, and stems. They will also eat insects (beetles, caterpillars, and cockroaches) and meat if it is available. If house mice live near humans, they will eat any human food that is available as well as glue, soap, and other household materials. Many mice will gather and then store their food for later use.”
No wonder it is so difficult to keep mice away from your property! It seems there is almost nothing they won’t devour if they are hungry enough. Indeed, they will even eat each other if they are starving. Push things far enough, and they will munch down their own tails.
Do Mice Have Favorite Foods?
Even though mice can eat pretty much everything, they do have certain foods that they like more than others. House mice prefer to eat the same type of foods they find in the wild. This includes grains, seeds, and fruits.
Indeed, it is apparently something of a myth that mice are enamored with cheese. High-carbohydrate foods are much more tempting to them, and that rather than cheese, one might do better with chocolate as bait.
That means that hypothetically, anything high in sugar could also attract mice. So, along with chocolate, mice enjoy indulging in other candies.
But what about “foods” that are not foods at all? Do you find your wires and books chewed up because mice love to eat them?
The answer to that is “no.” Even though mice can eat household materials, usually, they tear these items apart in order to construct their nests.
How Long Can Mice Live Without Food?
As we just mentioned, mice can resort to extreme eating patterns if they reach the point of starvation. But how long does it take for that to happen?
Despite the fact that mice are adept at scrounging for scraps and getting by on very little, they do need at least some food and water to survive.
Surprisingly, the food is a bigger deal than the water.
Rover Pest Control explains that mice are highly efficient at finding “indirect” sources of hydration. As a result, “Believe it or not, mice can go a month or more without directly consuming water. Their usual mode of hydration is extracting water from the food they consume. Even foods that seem dry enough to us to warrant chasing it with a glass of water will have enough water to sustain a mouse.”
They also can get the water they need from condensation if necessary (and assuming condensation is available).
With food, on the other hand, mice may not need a lot, but they do need to eat with a reasonable degree of frequency. If they have no food for 2-4 days, they can starve.
Be aware that the mice you are dealing with probably have backup food stores somewhere you won’t find them.
Also, even if you take away everything you think of as “food,” they will just resort to eating other things.
Plus, Rover Pest Control says that if mice are well-hydrated, they can live longer without reliable food sources.
How Can You Prevent Mice From Eating Your Food or Other Household Items?
- Never leave food lying around, especially grains, candies, fruits, seeds, or kibble.
- Put food in sealed containers, and if possible, put that inside of cabinets or your fridge or freezer.
- Use natural repellents like peppermint and cinnamon to keep mice away.
- Set traps in food areas.
- Seal leaky pipes and wipe up spills.
- Do not leave tempting nesting materials unattended (i.e. piles of old cardboard, etc.).
- Patch up holes that are letting mice into your home.
- Take steps to clear out your existing infestation, and then rely on strong preventative measures going forward.
What do mice eat? As you now know, the answer is “just about anything,” with a preference for carbohydrate-rich foods. Grains, seeds, fruits, and sugary foods are most appealing.
Try to use that knowledge to your advantage while setting traps, and do what you can to get rid of the mice you do have. Once they are gone, do not tempt them again by leaving out foods. With proper preventative measures, hopefully, you will not have to deal with this problem again.