It is well known that mice are notorious breeders. But exactly how many babies can mice have?
On average, female mice birth 6-8 pups at once but can birth as little as 3 and as many as 14 pups at once. And this is just one litter. A female mouse can have about 5 to 10 litters per year! So, on average, female mice will birth at least 32 to 56 pups each year (likely many more). With an average lifespan of 18 months and an average of 10 pups per litter, the average female mouse can produce more than 300 babies in her lifetime!
So, it goes without saying that one house mouse can quickly turn into dozens. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about baby mice in your home.
What do you do if you find baby mice?
If you find baby mice in your home, you have some decisions to make: kill them or save them. The good news is that locating baby mice in your home means you’ve located the nest of your mice. This is incredibly helpful to getting rid of your infestation.
Now comes the bad news. Finding baby mice in your home means that you will face the difficult situation of what to do with. The easiest solution is to kill them, but this can be emotionally taxing and difficult for some people to do. The other solution would be to raise them until they are mature and then release them into the wild. Unfortunately, the best solution would be to release them into the wild right away, but this is the cruelest and most inhumane thing to do for they cannot live on their own without their mother.
If you don’t have the time or capacity to raise the baby mice, sadly, the best option is to kill them, for releasing them into the wild will likely cause them to suffer much more painful and cruel deaths (eaten alive, starvation, etc.).
If you do choose to raise the baby mice, good for you! You can raise them and keep them as pets for their entire lives, or you can release them into the wild once they are adults. Just know that if you release them outside, you must drop them off FAR away from your home (at least 5 miles). Mice have incredibly good noses and will smell their way back to your home if they are even somewhat close to it.
How long do baby mice stay in the nest?
Baby house mice are completely dependent on their mother until they are about three weeks old. After 18 days, baby mice are ready to leave the nest. This stage in mouse development is when they are weaned from their mother. This means that they can come and go from the nest as they please and are able to find their own food on their own without the help or milk of the their mother.
Baby house mice may be entirely dependent on their mother until they are weaned, but after those short three weeks, you could see them running across your floors.
How fast can mice reproduce?
Fast! Very, very fast! Mice reach sexual maturity by about six weeks of age. Once they are sexually mature, they become prolific breeders. Females get pregnant often, and males mate with multiple females throughout his life.
Once a female is pregnant, it will only take 18-21 days before she gives birth to her litter. These few weeks is called her gestation period.
How many babies do mice have in a litter? On average, the number of babies in a litter is 6-8. Female mice can have upwards of 10 litters each year, so that means that they can give birth to a litter about every five weeks each year…at the very most.
Male mice attract a mate by singing songs in the ultrasonic frequency range (we cannot hear them) and through the use of pheromones, scents that only other mice can smell.
Mice are also territorial…even house mice. One dominant male usually lives together with several females and their babies. Male mice respect each other’s territories and usually only enter a territory if it is already vacant.
If you have pet mice, be aware that two or more males housed together in a cage can often become aggressive towards each other unless they have been raised together from birth.
What happens if I leave them alone?
This is a great question because it’s the solution that most of us would tend to gravitate towards the most. If you find many babies in your home and don’t want to get rid of them, you’ll likely wonder if leaving them alone would suffice. The answer is not entirely straightforward.
There are two main scenarios of finding baby mice in your home and leaving them be. The first would be finding the babies in their nest alone without any adults present. This is a rare scenario and would really only be possible if you had already killed off all of the adult mice through various pest control efforts. In this case, without a mother, the baby mice would die on their own. So, yes, you could leave them alone in this scenario, but know that they will die rather quickly.
The second scenario would be finding the babies in their nest with their mother. This is the more common scenario. In this case, choosing to leave them alone would worsen your infestation. The baby mice would soon grow up and roam your home for food.
Essentially, neither scenario yields desirable results when you leave them alone in their nest because they will either grow up in your home and still bring many potential dangers with them (diseases, home damage, etc) or they will quickly die.
Lastly, you may be wondering what would happen if you put the baby mice outside. Well, again, without the mother, they would die. But, if somehow you managed to put them outside with their mother, you can safely and confidently put them outside ONLY if you drive miles away from your home. If you don’t, the mice will find their way back to your home with their incredibly sensitive noses.
Of course, putting the mice outside increases their risk of a premature death due to the increase in predators present, but that’s just Mother Nature. Mice belong in the outdoors, and they’re better off there than in our homes.