What Does a Mouse Nest Look Like?

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There are about 30 species in the genus Mus, including the house mouse (Mus musculus). Other species are found in different genera, for example the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) and the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus). In the wild, mice live in various habitats, but they also often -- especially during the winter months -- migrate into houses and other buildings, where they can quickly become pests.

Location

  • Mice will nest in any area that is quiet and undisturbed. In the wild, they may use areas such as hollow trees, old logs or deserted bird nests. In human homes, common locations include attics, wall cavities and basements. They like to nest close to food sources, so the areas under and behind kitchen cabinets, refrigerators, dishwashers and ovens are especially popular. Mice also frequently nest in garages, barns and other outbuildings, and any areas of undisturbed vegetation, debris or clutter in the garden.

Materials

  • Mice use various materials to make and line their nests. Natural items used to construct their nests include grasses, stems, twigs, leaves, straw, roots, shredded bark and other fibrous materials, while soft items such as fur, feathers and moss are often used in the lining. Man-made materials, such as twine and shredded paper and cloth, are also frequently used. Mice will first shred any available material and then build it up into a nest in layers.

Features

  • Mice nests vary in size and appearance according to the particular species, environmental conditions and the types of material available. In general, mice are not too fussy when it comes to choice of material, but they typically prefer to use more natural items when these are available. Nests are characteristically small and round, varying in size from around 3 to 6 inches in diameter, depending on the species.

Nesting Behavior

  • Nests are built to be warm and comfortable, hidden away from predators and disturbance. Most caring for the young is done by the females, but male mice also help. One reason mice prefer to nest close to a food source is that they do not want to leave the litter for long periods. Babies are raised in the nest until they are old enough to search out their own food, and nests are replaced if they become too full of wastes.

References

  • Photo Credit brightstorm/iStock/Getty Images
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