Mice are mammals belonging to the order Rodentia (rodents) that, together with other small mammals such as rats, make up the Muridae family. There are several species of mice, however, the best known are the house mouse (Mus musculus) and the fieldmouse (Apodemus sylvaticus), which we can easily find in nature. Although both are very similar, like many other rodents, they differ in some aspects such as way of life or diet. In fact, we usually associate mice with cheese as the main food, but we will see that this is not the only thing that these animals can consume.
If you are interested in knowing what do mice eat, don't hesitate to read this AnimalWised article.You may also be interested in: What do rats eat? Index
- Digestive system of mice
- What do field mice eat?
- What do house mice eat?
- How much does a mouse eat a day?
Digestive system of mice
Before knowing what mice eat, it is very important to know how to differentiate these small mammals from other domestic rodents such as hamsters or rats, because although they have a similar appearance and diet, they are totally different species. These are some general characteristics of mice:
- They are small animals, although their size, which is usually around 9 or 10 centimeters in length, it can vary depending on the species. They have round or oval bodies with normally short fur and are characterized by their long tails and long whiskers used to recognize the environment..
- In terms of their habitat, the places where mice can be found can be quite diverse, from areas with little or no vegetation to large forests and mountainous areas. All this without forgetting the many homes where house mice predominate..
- They have great skills, including enormous agility They present both on land and in water, offering this a great advantage when it comes to escaping from predators in nature (birds, reptiles, domestic cats, etc.). Also, they are animals very active and with a great sense of smell that allows them to detect food from a long distance.
- House mice can live for about 2 to 3 years. However, mice in the wild tend to have a shorter life expectancy because they are exposed to greater dangers from nature such as the presence of their predators..
If you want to know more about the characteristics of mice, you may also be interested in the following article: "Differences between rat and mouse ".
Now, focusing on the digestive system of mice, which is what will allow us to know what they eat, we can say that they are originally herbivores, so their digestive system is adapted to consume plant matter. However, today they can be considered animals omnivores since in nature it is also common to see them feeding on other small animals or remains of human food.
On the other hand, it is important to note that your incisor teeth grow continuously, so they must be filed during food intake. If the mouse cannot wear down these teeth, it can develop pain and oral problems that will prevent the animal from eating and, therefore, it can die from extreme physical weakness..
After food is eaten, it is broken down and digested in the stomach and long intestines of the mouse. Vegetable matter is degraded in the cecum, but it does not absorb the resulting proteins and vitamins. It is for this reason that it is a common practice in mice to ingestion of stool or cecotroph to incorporate these nutrients into the body. Finally, the waste products are expelled again through the anus.
What do field mice eat?
These small animals have a very high metabolism, so they consume food several times a day. Newborn mice feed on mother's milk during the 20 or 25 days that breastfeeding lasts. After weaning, as mentioned above, mice can be considered herbivores or omnivores, since their diet usually varies depending on the habitat in which they are found. Thus, the diet of mice in the wild or field may include:
- Human food remains
- Other small animals
No less important is the diet of domestic mice, as these animals are usually fed commercial mouse feed. However, many owners also choose to offer you a homemade diet
What do house mice eat?
Many keepers of mice decide to feed these rodents with a suitable food for them. This type of commercial food can be found in many animal feed stores and they are highly recommended, since they collect the necessary nutrients. Thus, a good mixture for mice may include:
- Dried fruits like apple or banana
- Dehydrated vegetables such as carrots
- Soy oil
- Dairy products
- Fiber rich products
Good food for mice
Other mouse keepers prefer to supplement this type of feeding with a homemade diet, thus including natural foods. These can be administered in small pieces or larger so that they wear down your teeth when you bite down. Among them we can find:
- Stale bread
An important aspect that we must not forget about feeding mice is the fact that avoiding foods that may be harmful for them, like chocolate, garlic or onion. Good hydration is also important, so a suitable drinker that always has clean and fresh water is essential.
Finally, first of all, highlight the importance of going to a veterinarian to help you understand what mice eat and establish the best diet for each type of mouse..
If you have adopted a mouse, do not miss the smells that mice hate the most to avoid them.
How much does a mouse eat a day?
Mice need approximately 10 grams of food for every 100 grams of your weight. Therefore, if a mouse weighs 70 grams, it is convenient to give it 7 grams of food daily, which we should leave at the free disposal of the animal since it eats several times a day.
Now, going into the amounts of each nutrient, taking into account that they need about a 10-20% protein of his total diet, it is important to give him the right amount and food. This means that, if we decide to offer a domestic mouse a mixture, it would be necessary to check on the labeling that the percentage of protein is not very high. If, on the other hand, we prefer a more homemade diet, it is important not to overuse foods rich in protein, such as cheese, and focus on others that provide more nutrients such as fruit or vegetables, since 80 -90% remaining must be composed of vitamins, minerals, fiber, carbohydrates, etc..