How Long Do Mice Live In The Wild?

How Long Do Mice Live In The Wild?

Since mice are little animals, you don’t think they would live very long. However, have you ever noticed that it can be challenging to determine a mouse’s age? You might be asking now how long mice live.

A wild mouse typically lives for one to two years. The majority of wild mice pass away before they turn one. The lifespan of a wild mouse depends on a number of variables. Included in this are the species, the environment they reside in, and their general state of health.

If you have mice in your yard, you may be hoping that they won’t stay for two years. Knowing how long a mouse lives can give you a better idea of how long you’ll see them in your yard. This article will walk you through every aspect of a wild mouse’s life cycle.

Let’s start.

How long do Mice live in the wild?

Each species of mouse has a different maximum life expectancy. Not all mice will live to be that age, even though they can live for three to four years.

Some mice will be fortunate and live a long life, while others will pass away quite early. Everything will balance out.

The majority of wild mice will actually pass away as young children. Mice typically have many offspring as a result. They understand that the most of them won’t make it. Greater numbers increase the likelihood that some will grow up.

A mouse has a far higher chance of living longer once it reaches adulthood. Mice become more resistant to problems that lower their survival rates as they age.

The length of time a mouse will survive in the wild can be greatly influenced by its species. Let’s look at the typical age of the most prevalent wild mouse species.

species of miceExpected lifespan
Domestic Mouseages 9 to 12
Rabbit mouse2-4 years
Mouse with White Feet12- to 24-months
harvest mouse from the west7 to 12 months
Area mouse12 to 18 months.
Cotton-tail mice5 to 12 months
Mouse brush13 to 14 months
Mouse cactus9-12months
Mice from Oldfield7-8 years

You’ll observe that the survival rates of each mouse species vary quite a little. Some animals seem to have a much greater capacity for longevity than others. This is because of the settings in which each species dwells and the vulnerabilities that they face on a daily basis.

Let’s examine each element that might have an impact on a mouse’s ability to endure in the wild.

Factors affecting how long mice live

1. Food Sources

For the majority of wild animals, including mice, food availability is a serious problem. Mice need a consistent food source to have the energy to live and reproduce.

The main components of a wild mouse’s diet are seeds, grains, and plant matter. Since there is little plant life in winter, they will primarily eat nuts and grains.

There won’t be enough food for everyone if the number of mice in the area is too great. Accordingly, some mice might starve to death. This frequently occurs during the winter, when difficult weather makes it difficult to access food.

In order to go extended periods without food in the winter, mice must adapt. During the autumn, they will hide food reserves so they can return to them later.

Mice may also be compelled to look for food in cities, such as bird seed or trash. This may cause children to consume food that is not nourishing for them.

Mice who are pregnant or nursing need a sufficient food supply to produce healthy offspring. Poor nutrition can result in frail, unwell baby mice that pass away soon after birth.

2. Predators

Many larger species of animals prey on wild mice. One of the main dangers to a mouse’s existence is predation.

Typical mice predators include:

  • Owls
  • Hawks
  • Skunks
  • Snakes
  • Foxes
  • Wolves
  • Pesky dogs

Predators typically catch young, immature mice who have little experience with them. These mice lack the skills necessary to avoid predators or detect their presence.

Animals will frequently pursue mice and find their burrows in order to attack their young.

Wild mice are also seriously threatened by domestic cats and dogs. When they wander through your yard, they will capture them. Even when they are adequately fed, cats will practice their hunting techniques on mice.

Mice rely significantly on their sense of smell to stay as far away from predators as they can. Due to their nocturnal nature, they are typically most active at night. Mice can avoid being seen by other animals by foraging throughout the night.

Trapping by humans is also a huge threat to mice. Every year, millions of mice are killed by humans using poisonous traps since they are viewed as vermin. This aids in lowering the risk to human health and property harm that mice create.

3. Disease

The length of a mouse’s life will be significantly influenced by their general health. Diseases and parasites that cause ill health and death are carried by mice.

The following illnesses are typical among mice:

  • Salmonellosis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Hantavirus
  • Tularemia
  • Meningitis with lymphocytic choriolysis (LCM)

Fleas, ticks, germs, viruses, and other pests can all spread these diseases. Mice who are weak, hungry, or injured have a higher chance of developing these illnesses. Additionally, because mice are highly gregarious creatures, diseases can spread swiftly among them.

These illnesses are likely to cause death in mice who develop them. Usually due to direct symptoms, but side effects can also render them defenseless against predators or unable to find food and water on their own.

4. Injury

4. Injury

Mice that dwell close to cities are far more likely to suffer harm as a result of human intervention. Trapping equipment is the main source of damage for wild mice. You can utilize a variety of techniques, including glue traps, snap traps, stun traps, and poisons.

Although most mice are expected to perish in traps, some might. If they do, they’ll probably sustain fatal external injuries or interior injuries. Instead of using traps to remove mice from your home, it is preferable to attempt and avoid their entry.

When mice try to flee from predators, they frequently sustain minor injuries. They might be in shock or have exposed wounds that might get infected as a result.

5. Climate

Since mice don’t hibernate in the winter, they must develop unique adaptations to withstand the harsh weather. Ice, snow, and extremely cold temperatures characterize the winter season.

Mice typically adapt well to these environments by creating subterranean burrows for protection. However, they continue to require daily foraging to locate food to thrive. Temperatures that drop too low for little mice to live can be brought on by an abrupt cold snap.

Mice can experience daily torpor for brief intervals. Mice can lower their body temperature and metabolism as a result, saving energy.

6. Infanticide

One animal species that engages in the peculiar practice known as infanticide is the mouse. They will devour newly born baby mice at this time. Either the parent mice are consuming their own young or an unrelated mouse is consuming a baby mouse nearby.

It is believed that under extremely stressful circumstances, parent mice will consume their young. This might occur when food supplies are low or environmental resources are few.

Mice frequently commit non-parental infanticide to lessen competition for resources. Additionally, the infant gives offenders a source of sustenance.

The following mouse species have a reputation for committing infanticide:

  • stag mice
  • Timber mouse
  • spiky mice
  • Mouse from California
  • Rat-tailed mouse

Related Questions

Can Mice live over 5 years?

When raised as pets or in captivity, mice can live for up to 6 years. The oldest mouse ever recorded made it to age 7 years. Since they are not exposed to the same dangers as wild mice, captive mice have a substantially longer lifespan.

Mice kept in cages are protected from predators and harsh weather, and they can get medical care if they get sick or hurt. These benefits significantly lengthen their life span.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

A wild mouse’s lifespan will be influenced by a variety of lifestyle choices. Their survival rates will be influenced by their environment, food supply, health, and natural predators.

The survival rate of mice can also be significantly impacted by humans. Due to their reputation as pests, millions are slaughtered annually. Despite this, mice are highly adaptive animals that proliferate quickly to ensure the continuation of their species.


What type of mouse lives the longest?

The longest-living type of mouse is the laboratory mouse, which was developed from the common house mouse. Because of their rapid reproduction and resemblance to humans, they are the chosen species for medical testing all around the world. They are virtually invariably white. Laboratory mice are ideally suited for research on aging.

How long does a wild mouse live in captivity?

That is, they have a longer lifespan in captivity than in the wild, where they only have a 12-month lifespan on average. Predators, poisoning, a lack of food, and other threats drastically reduce their chances of surviving. Wild mice can survive up to five years in captivity.

Do wild mice live longer than pet mice?

Mice raised as pets typically live longer than those raised in the wild. Mice in the wild often live for less than a year. Compared to mice kept in confinement, wild mice are much more vulnerable to threats.

What type of mice live the longest?

The naked mole-rat has the longest lifespan in relation to its size (Heterocephalus glaber). Naked mole rats, which are about the size of a mouse, can live for up to 28 years in captivity (Buffenstein and Jarvis 2002). African rodents called mole-rats live the most of their lives in tunnels.

Can u keep a wild mouse as a pet?

The only difference is that wild mice must be caught at a specific moment in their life and not earlier or later. Wild mice can be maintained as pets just like any tame mouse you buy in a pet store. Additionally, they are often stronger and healthier than the mouse kind found in pet stores, and they live longer.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author