Deer Mouse vs House Mouse | What is the difference? - Plague Samurai (2023)

When you hear the word mouse, you usually think of that little creature you spotted sneaking around your kitchen, or that tiny rodent you caught alive under the comforts of your attic. But there are a hundred mouse species in the animal world, which are further divided into subfamilies.

What is the difference between the deer mouse and the house mouse?In terms of appearance, a house mouse is usually less than five inches long with gray, tan, brown, white, or black fur, but a deer mouse can grow up to seven inches long, with gray or tawny fur on top and a white belly and feet. House mice have small, black beady eyes, rounded ears, and prominent tail hairs, while deer mice have larger eyes and ears but no tail hairs.

In this article, we cover these two rodent species identifying traits and the efficient methods to catch and get rid of them.

Table of contents

Deer Mouse vs House Mouse | ID

A deer mouse and aHouse mousemay look similar to each other, but they also have different distinguishable features.To shed light on this matter, we have specifically listed the differences as well as the similarities between these two types of mice.


  • Both belong to the orderRodentia, Classmammals, and tribechords.
  • Both can navigate in different places by running, jumping, climbing and even swimming.
  • The appearance of their droppings is quite similar as they are both black, shaped like a stick and resemble a small grain of rice.
  • Both are carriers of various bacteria and viruses and can transmit pests such as fleas, ticks and lice.


  • Deer mice have larger eyes and ears than house mice.
  • A deer mouse typically measures seven inches from nose to tail, while a house mouse measures less than five inches from nose to tail.
  • The deer mouse's fur is gray or tawny on top and white on the underside and feet, while a house mouse's fur comes in shades of tan, tan, gray, black, and white.
  • A deer mouse has no hair on its tail, while a house mouse's tail is filled with hair.
  • Deer mouse usuallyresidesin rural areas such as farms, agricultural fields, forests, meadows, scrubland, meadows, parks, and forests, while a house mouse lives most of the time with people in homes, offices, and other urban structures.
  • A deer mouse is known for its tendency to hoard food and bring it back to its habitat, while a house mouse will eat the food it has found in a given area directly and leave it afterwards.
  • Deer mouse can transmitHantavirus Pulmonary Syndromesince it can be Ahantavirus carriers but a house mouse can transmitLymphozytäre Choriomeningitis, Rickettsialpox, AndLeptospirosis.
  • Both can jump and climb, but house mice are more adept at jumping while deer mice are more adept at climbing.
  • The deer mouse is more prone to carrying fleas, ticks, lice and other ectoparasites in a home since they are outside regularly than a house mouse.
  • A house mouse is vulnerable to rodent baits and traps, while a deer mouse is said to be at lower risk.

Related:Common Types of Mice You Will Find in Your House | Identification, habitat and behavior

Are deer mice common in homes?

Deer Mouse vs House Mouse | What is the difference? - Plague Samurai (1)

It is uncommon for deer mice to invade homes and residential areas, as their habitats are found in meadows, fields, forests, and farmland.However, they can reach people's homes to forage for food or if the named area contains sanctuaries in which to establish their nests. This can also happen when these mice can't stand the extreme cold and are forced to find a warm place to stay.

Why do they call them deer mice?

These rodents are called deer mice because they resemble miceFarbmusterof white-tailed deer.Just like said animal, a deer mouse has a grayish to tan back with a white underbelly and white feet.

Where does the deer mouse live?

A deer mouse can live in a variety of habitats.You can find them in agricultural fields, prairies, forests, arid tropical environments, grasslands, deserts, and scrublands. However, you can also detect their presence in alpine areas, boreal and temperate islands.

Are Deer Mice Harmful?

Deer mice can be harmful if they become reservoirs of contagious viruses.Once humans are exposed to these microorganisms, there is a chance of contracting contagious diseases that can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

Additionally, being constantly outside, they attract additional insect pests such as lice, fleas, and ticks, which can be a source of various health issues and problems.

Do deer mice get along with other mice?

Most mouse species can live with other mouse species because they are considered social creatures among their own kind.However, when that facility exposes them to humans and potential predators, that familiarity with other mice can change and they can move to other locations.

Do deer mice transmit diseases?

Deer mice are known to be carriers of hantaviruses, which can cause what is known as diseaseHantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome.It is transmitted when a person comes into contact with an infected deer mouse, including its urine and feces.

These can also be transmitted to humans when they inhale dust particles from contaminated urine and waste. Common symptoms of this disease include fever, muscle pain, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, abdominal pain, chills and vomiting.

Although the prevalence of hantavirus disease can vary from one geographic location to another, it is said that only 10% to 15% of deer mice tested become positive with the presence of said virus.

What attracts mice to your home?

Deer Mouse vs House Mouse | What is the difference? - Plague Samurai (2)

There are two possible reasons why a mouse keeps coming back to you.First, the presence of food and supplies made accessible and available to them. This includes food containers that are not tightly closed or food that is not stored properly.

The second is that your home can be conducive to their nesting needs due to the presence of warm areas, places full of clutter, and the opportunity to be isolated from humans and natural predators.

Is it common to have mice in your home?

It can be common to have mice in your home.These little creatures are skilled scavengers, so they constantly hunt for food to survive. Your home may also have humid areas that are far from people. So don't be surprised if you see them lurking around your house. Remember that their presence in your home does not necessarily mean that your environment is unclean or unsanitary.

Where do mice hide in a house?

Mice are attracted to warm temperatures, clutter, and places secluded from humans and predators.This description fits perfectly in attics, wall voids, garages, crawl spaces, and spaces under heavy furniture and cabinets. They may also hide in areas near the kitchen or pantry due to their proximity to food.

What do mice hate the most?

Mice hate the smell of certain spices and herbs, such as cayenne pepper, peppermint, cloves, cinnamon, and spearmint.They also dislike the smell of vinegar, ammonia, tea bags, and dryer sheets. Therefore, it is highly recommended to use these items as natural repellents if you want to get rid of them.

Do mice go away on their own?

Mice can leave their habitat when they can no longer find food in their current environment or when the atmosphere is no longer conducive to their way of life.That being said, these creatures don't usually go away on their own, so pest experts may be required.

Is a deer mouse bigger than a house mouse?

Deer Mouse vs House Mouse | What is the difference? - Plague Samurai (3)

A deer mouse can be slightly larger than a house mouse, typically measuring seven inches.On the other hand, the length of a house mouse is only three to five inches.

Characteristics, threats and bites of a deer mouse and a house mouse

The following are the characteristics of the deer and house mouse in terms of scientific name, size, color, habitat, and unique characteristics, including the health risks they pose and how to treat their bites and infestations:

deer mouseHouse mouse
Scientific namePeromyscus maniculatusmuscle of the mouse
SizeUsually measures seven inches.Can be five inches or less.
ColorTheir upper bodies are typically gray to tan while their underbelly and feet are white.Their colors can range from tan, brown, white, gray, and black.
habitatThey are mainly found on farms, agricultural fields, forests, grasslands, scrubland, meadows, parks and forests.They live in houses, offices and other urban spaces.
Unique featureThey have color patterns resembling those of white-tailed deer. In addition, they have large eyes and ears that give them excellent eyesight and hearing.They can walk on wire ropes and ropes and jump up to 13 inches high. Also, they eat where they find food and then leave as they are not hoarders.
risksThey are at high risk of transmitting hantavirus pulmonary syndrome and can carry more fleas, ticks, and lice into a home since they are always outdoors.They can be carriers of diseases such as leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis and rickettsialpox.
infestation treatmentEliminating entry points into houses, using natural repellents, mousetraps and baits.Food baits, mousetraps and regular cleaning of your surroundings.
BiteThey can bite people.They do not typically bite unless threatened or placed in a dangerous situation.

bite treatment

Step 1:Clean the bitten area with clean water and soap.

Step 2:Apply antibacterial creams and topical applications.

Step 3:Cover it with a clean bandage to further reduce the risk of infection.

Step 4:Watch for signs of infection such as fever, chills, and the presence of pus at the bite site.

What is the best way to get rid of deer mice?

Deer Mouse vs House Mouse | What is the difference? - Plague Samurai (4)

Getting rid of deer mice may require a combination of different products and techniques. To get rid of them effectively, it is best to follow these measures:

1. Usesnap traps,electrocution traps, orglue boardswhile catching mice. You can use food attractants like peanut butter and mix it with oats or grains to entice the deer mouse to approach it.


Deer Mouse vs House Mouse | What is the difference? - Plague Samurai (5)

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2. Apply natural deer mice repellents such as peppermint, cloves, cayenne pepper and cinnamon or chemical repellents and rodenticides available in stores and markets.

3. Natural enemies of a deer mouse can also be helpful in getting rid of them, such as owls, bobcats, snakes, weasels, foxes, and skunks. Dogs and cats can also hunt and kill said mouse species.

Related:Mice control: how to get rid of mice?

How to easily catch a mouse?

If you want to catch a mouse easily, you can use the following strategies:

  • Look for the possible entry points of a mouse. These spots are usually surrounded by mouse tallow and feces.
  • Place mousetraps in places where they normally stay, run, crawl, or pass through. You can use homemade traps with a bucket and spoon or a cardboard tube, or with simple tools like a jar and a coin. Otherwise, you can also buy ready-made traps or sticky boards if you don't want to build your own trapping device.
  • Use feed bait such as peanut butter in combination with these traps. This is done to entice the mice to approach the catching tool.
  • Monitor the traps regularly and change their position if necessary.
  • Clean the areas where their nests are located and remove unwanted clutter.

Related:Rodent Pest Control | Types, control guide, prevention and products


Although all mice appear to be the same, there are several types of mice. These include house mice and deer mice. These two groups of mice can differ in color, appearance, traits, and habits, but both can cause disease and health problems. Therefore, it is necessary to control and prevent their infestation.

List of Sources

deer mouse. (2013). Pennsylvania State University.

Quinn, N., Baldwin. R. A., Timm, R. M. (2012).deer mouse. University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.

ecology. (2012). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Timm, R. M. (2011).House mouse. University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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