Out of all of the rodents that populate the world, it is probably mice that have the closest relationship with people. This is because it is mice, more than any others, which are likely to cohabitate with us inside our homes and other structures, whether we want them to or not.
Responsible for plenty of headaches and not insignificant property damage, mice are too small to cause any direct harm to humans. Or are they? Are mice actually dangerous?
No, mice are not directly dangerous to humans but they are often responsible for spreading disease through contact with food and surfaces in the home.
Whether you think they are cute or creepy and disgusting, chances are keeping mice out of your home and other spaces is going to be a task you’ll need to see to year in and year out.
But, assuming you are not unlucky enough to run into a genuine health hazard due to the presence of mice you probably don’t need to worry about them hurting you.
Keep reading to learn more about mouse behavior and their interactions with humans.
Understanding Mice Behavior
Mice are among the most plentiful and successful rodents on earth, and are found in all corners of our world.
Mice are able to survive in nearly any environment, including some of the most hostile locations on earth.
Mice are also known to be very curious creatures and will often explore their surroundings, which is how they typically find their way into our homes and other structures.
Note that a mouse can fit anywhere that they can squeeze their skull into. Once mice are inside, they will take advantage of the shelter a structure provides and help themselves to any food source they can find, preferring seeds, nuts and vegetables above everything else.
It is this propensity to invade our living spaces that makes mice so hated, and such pests. Some populations of mice can qualify as legitimate crop pests since they can wreak so much damage in short order.
Mice are also known for their positively explosive reproductive rate. A single mouse can have litters of five to six young many times a year, which means a small family can quickly become a much larger infestation if mice are not removed from the premises ASAP.
While mice are not directly dangerous to humans, they can pose substantial risks indirectly.
Despite the reputation of pet mice as being quite fastidious groomers and very clean animals, wild mice, of all kinds, are known to transmit a variety of diseases to humans and other animals, and historically mice, or the parasites they carry, have been deemed responsible for devastating epidemics and pandemics.
Since mice are so intelligent and adaptable, it can be difficult to keep them out of your home or business.
If you find yourself with a mouse problem, the best course of action is to call a professional pest control company who will be able to quickly and efficiently remove the mice from your premises.
Are Mice Aggressive Toward Humans?
No. Mice, as a rule, will run or hide from humans and all other mammals given half a chance. Mice only become aggressive when directly grabbed.
Have Mice Ever Attacked Humans?
Yes. There are many recorded cases of mice getting aggressive and biting people, and a few tales of large swarms of mice being mad with hunger or fear and attacking.
How Do Mice Attack?
The only defense mice have against people is by biting. They are so tiny that their claws cannot do anything, but their teeth, like those of all rodents, are chisel-like in shape and very sharp. A mouse bite can easily draw blood.
What Causes Mice Aggression?
In most cases, bites occur when a human attempts to grab or handle a mouse roughly. Mice can also become aggressive if they feel cornered or trapped and will sometimes bite as a way to defend themselves.
Occasionally a mouse caring for young may try to defend its litter from intruders.
Do Mice Eat People?
No, mice do not eat people. Mice are mostly, though not totally, herbivores. In nature they will eat mainly seeds, nuts and vegetables.
Some mice in captivity have been known to nibble on the odd bit of meat from time to time, but this is not their preferred diet by any means.
However, they are adaptable and opportunistic, and it is not too farfetched to think that a mouse could take a few nibbles from a fresh body.
Are Mice Territorial?
No, at least not toward humans. Mice will run in fear or hide from any human encountered anywhere. They are near the very bottom of the food chain, and they know it.
How Strong is a Mouse?
Mice aren’t strong. Though their jaw muscles are well developed for their size, and they use them for gnawing and burrowing into various materials, they are not strong enough to inflict major harm or resist capture.
What Should You Do if You See a Mouse?
If you see a mouse, don’t panic, but do assume that where there is one there are many, many more. And even if there aren’t there likely will be soon.
If you spot a mouse in the wild, you don’t need to do anything. If you see one in your own home or another structure, it is time to take action to get them out and keep them from getting in.
What Should You Do if Attacked by a Mouse?
If, for whatever reason, you are attacked by a mouse you can try to swat it or brush it away.
Mice are tiny and not very fast compared to a human, but the likelihood of encountering them in a small space where escape will be difficult is high, so be careful.
Mice may also cling to clothing and tend to scurry around erratically, so drawing a bead on a crazed mouse is difficult.
However, mice are so tiny and fragile that even the most incidental blow can mortally wound them or kill them outright. One good swat is all it should take.
If you do get bitten during the confrontation, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention if necessary. Assume that any bite or other open wound will become infected.
Do Mice Carry Diseases People Can Catch?
Yes, mice carry all kinds of diseases people can catch. Some of these diseases are mild, such as the common cold, while others are more serious, such as hantavirus and typhus.
Mice are also known to be vectors for other diseases that they don’t even suffer from themselves, such as plague and Lyme disease.
Some of these germs are carried and transmitted by the bodily fluids of the mouse, while others are carried by the parasites they play host to, such as fleas or mites.
The problem of mouse-borne disease is made worse since mice regularly walk through their own feces and urine, tracking it all over the place but often in a subtle or even imperceptible way.
When mice have access to pantries and food prep areas the stage will be set for a serious outbreak of pestilence.
Whenever you are exposed to or otherwise forced to deal with mice, their corpses, their nesting areas or any place they frequent or have infested you must take caution to protect yourself from contamination and inhaled dust.
Wearing gloves, a mask and using bleach or other disinfectants on any contaminated surfaces is the best way to avoid getting sick from contact with mice. Always make sure to wash thoroughly after any such activity.
The threat of disease from mice is not to be taken lightly. They may be small, but they can pose a serious threat to your health and wellbeing.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.