Deer Mice


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.


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

Deer Mice in North Carolina

Deer mice, often referred to as field mice or white-footed mice, are found throughout North America. Deer mice prefer woodlands, but they are also established in desert areas. Most often found outdoors in rural areas, deer mice rarely invade residential properties. These rodents are a common problem in agricultural areas, and will sometimes look for shelter in homes over winter. Their true danger lies in the fact that they are common carriers of hantavirus. They feed at dusk and dawn and tend to prefer insects, seeds, nuts, and berries.

Signs of a Deer Mouse Infestation

Signs of a deer mouse infestation include the presence of droppings, which are small, dark, and pointed at both ends. You might also notice gnawed food packaging or structures, as deer mice tend to chew on various materials. Nests made of shredded paper, fabric, or other soft materials in hidden areas can indicate their presence. Additionally, you may hear scratching or scampering noises, especially at night.

Habitat, Diet & Life Cycle

Where Do Deer Mice Live?

Deer mice are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands, and agricultural areas. They are nocturnal and spend their days in cup-shaped nests made of stems, leaves, and fibrous materials. Nests are lined with feathers or shredded cloth and can be found in tree hollows, fence posts, abandoned squirrel and bird nests, and the underside of logs and rocks. In homes, deer mice construct nests in low activity areas such as basements, attics, garages, and crawl spaces. Deer mice do not hibernate and may invade homes during winter months seeking shelter in storage boxes, wall voids, and upholstered furniture.


Deer mice are omnivorous and have a varied diet. They primarily consume seeds, nuts, fruits, and insects. In homes, they are opportunistic feeders and will eat any available human food, pet food, and even birdseed.

Life Cycle

A female deer mouse can produce multiple litters each year, with each litter consisting of three to five young. The gestation period is about 23 days, and the young are weaned and independent by three to four weeks old. Deer mice can live up to two years in the wild, although their lifespan is often shorter due to predation and environmental factors.

Deer Mouse Behaviors, Threats, or 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 a deer mouse infestation in your North Carolina property, always contact a licensed rodent control company.

How to Get Rid of Deer Mice?

To get rid of deer mice, it is crucial to identify and eliminate entry points into your home. Seal cracks and gaps in walls, doors, and windows. Remove food sources by storing food in airtight containers and maintaining a clean living environment. Traps and baits can be effective in reducing their population, but it’s often best to consult with a professional pest control service for thorough and safe removal.

Deer Mouse Prevention Tips

Preventing deer mice from entering your home involves a combination of exclusion and sanitation. Regularly inspect and seal potential entry points, such as gaps in the foundation, vents, and around utility pipes. Keep your home clean and free of food debris, and store food in sealed containers. Reducing clutter, particularly in storage areas, can also help to eliminate nesting sites.


Why are Deer Mice in my House?

Deer mice often enter homes in search of food, warmth, and shelter, particularly during the colder months. They are drawn to accessible food sources and can find their way into homes through small cracks and openings.

What Attracts Deer Mice?

Deer mice are attracted to homes by the availability of food and nesting sites. Easily accessible food sources such as pet food, birdseed, and poorly stored human food can attract these rodents. Cluttered areas provide ideal nesting sites, while warmth and shelter from the elements also draw them indoors.