What Do Wild Mice Eat
Summary: When asking, “What do wild mice eat?” the answer is simple. They eat everything that humans and their domestic pets eat and more. Just look in your pantry after an invasion of mice and you will discover their menu is wide and varied.
There are so many misconceptions pest management professionals hear about rodents. One of the biggest mysteries to non-professionals is what do wild mice eat. We see mice running from trash dumpsters and think, “Yuk! Dirty mice.”
If we could actually see inside that dumpster we would discover something we would think would be entirely out of character for a rat or mouse. We would discover that rodent being very discerning about the food it is dining upon. It's true! No self-respecting rodent would consider eating a morsel of food that
has gone bad. The lowly rodent turns out to be a connoisseur of fresh, clean foods. Funny how that works! We see a mouse or rat and think “filth”, while that same rodent is rejecting anything that fails its freshness test.
When you think about garbage you think of waste or something that has been rejected. In reality, and we all know this, humans are wasteful. We discard containers of food that still have edible residue on the sides. We throw away half-eaten sandwiches because we are full. We toss out a banana because it is too ripe. We don't eat apple cores. We peel potatoes, carrots, apples and so many other foods, throwing perfectly edible items in our garbage. I could easily fill this page with foods that we toss out that is fresh, clean and nutritious.
I think you may be starting to get the picture about what wild mice eat. The answer is right in front of you. They eat everything and anything. Sure, they have their favorites, but mice will nibble on a wide variety of foods, tasting a little here and there. Rats, on the other hand are a lot more picky and suspicious. They will take a small taste of something, and then leave it alone. They do this to see if a new food will make them sick. Once they have digested the sample successfully they will return and gorge on that particular food.
Understanding the differences in what and how mice and rats eat is partially how professionals determine what type animal is infesting a location. Understanding a rodent's eating habits can answer the customer's question, “Is it a rat or a mouse?” People are way more fearful of rats than they are of mice.
When a mouse gains entry into a house, its sensitive nose leads it to the kitchen pantry where a large selection of easily attainable foods is available. The pantry is a supply of nuts, grains, dried fruits and lots of paper for nesting. If the home has pets the bagged pet food becomes a target. Pet food is often kept in the garage where entry under a garage door is fairly easy for a mouse. They can gain entry through a hole the size of a dime which means most
garages are accessible. The protein in dog food is a wonderful food source for mice. It's so good, in fact, that is it not uncommon for mice to build their nests right inside a fifty pound bag of dog chow. Nesting materials supplied by the paper bag and the mouse is surrounded by a food supply. What a life!
Mice are more likely to live inside a house and get along nicely on the foods in the kitchen. Their water requirement is way less than a rat's, with much of their water needs being fulfilled by the moisture contained in the food they eat. A rat needs a more plentiful supply of water, so it needs to nest in an area where water pools on the flood or near other water sources.
So, what do wild mice eat? Anything they can get their little choppers on.