Mice, like rats, are carriers of disease including Leptosperosis (Weils Disease) and Salmonellosis, a form of food poisoning, which may be passed onto food and drinks in mice excrement or simply as a result of mice coming into contact with food.


It is not uncommon for the house mouse to be confused with other species of mice found in the UK or even for a young rat.  Two other common mice are the wood mouse and the yellow-necked mouse both of which can be found indoors, however, they usually prefer to live out of doors.

The house mouse is between 2 – 7cms in length with an average weight of approx 25gms (1oz), has grey-brown fur which is lighter on its underside and the tail is longer than the head and body length.


Mice will not venture more than 3 – 10 meters from their nest site, house mice tend to investigate strange objects and food sources very quickly, but they have a limited attention span.

Feeding habits

House mice are surprisingly indiscriminate in their choice of food, in urban areas they eat the same food as humans and are particularly attracted to birdseed and food moistened with vegetable oil.  The house mouse can survive on minimal water and can live without drinking if the moisture content of its food is about 15%.  House mice are intermittent and erratic feeders and are mainly nocturnal with their peak periods of activity generally following the onset of darkness.

Life cycle and behaviour

Given the right condition house mice are capable of reproducing at the age of about 3 months, pregnancy lasts around 17 – 20 days with each litter producing 5 – 6 young.  The young are weaned in approximately 3 weeks and maturity is reached at about 3 months, unlike most mammals, mice do not have to wait until the original litter is weaned and the female has stopped giving milk before being able to conceive again.  Therefore, in ideal conditions the female can give birth every 21 days, this can mean a serious infestation can develop in a few months if not dealt with at “first signs” such as gnawed packaging and droppings.

Prevention and control

Controlling and preventing mouse infestations begins with good housekeeping, rubbish and overgrown vegetation should be completely removed from around the outside of buildings, if you deny a mouse cover and you may well deny it access.  Good housekeeping inside is very important too, loose open foods should be kept in rodent-proof containers.

All food refuse should be disposed of in a suitable waste bin which must have a close fitting lid.  If an infestation occurs the only consistently effective method of control is the use of chemical poisons, this type of treatment should be carried out by a professional pest control technician.

When things go wrong…

On 19 May Gastro UK Ltd, the company operating The Alexander Public House, Oatlands Drive, Weybridge, Surrey pleaded guilty to eight offences at Redhill Magistrates’ Court.

The offences were discovered on 15 August and 25 September 2014.

The Court fined Gastro UK Ltd £1,400 per offence, plus a £120 surcharge, and awarded the Council’s full costs of £2,596.66, totaling £13,916.66.

Officers from Elmbridge Borough Council’s Food Team carried out a routine food hygiene inspection and found evidence of a mouse infestation, poor structure and cleaning, and a failure to implement a suitable food safety management system.

When officers revisited not all matters had been dealt with.

Cllr Glenn Dearlove, Elmbridge Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environment said: “It is right that the management of The Alexander Public House have been held accountable for their failure to comply with important food hygiene legislation.

“However, the subsequent improvement to a food hygiene rating of five demonstrates not only how hard they have worked, but also the improvement our food and safety officers can bring about when businesses work with us.”