Pest Problems

House Mouse vs Field Mouse

The treatment of every infestation begins by establishing what kind of pest are you dealing with. From this point on you can figure out why it entered your property, from where it may have entered and so on. The answers to all those questions will lead an experienced professional to the actions he has to take to correctly treat the infestation and prevent it from happening again.

Today we will look at two species that are quite common in the UK. They are different in many ways, but to the untrained eye, they are practically the same.  In this post, you will learn how to make a difference between a house and a field mouse.

You might find this post useful if:

  • You are dealing with mice infestations right now;
  • You live in a rural area where mice usually thrive;
  • You have a big garden that attracts mice;
  • You tend to store grains for animals on your property and want to prevent future infestations.

Key differences between house mice and field mice

Both of those critters are invading our homes. They may look alike but they do have some specific differences. Not only in their appearance, but in their nature and behaviour as well. Establishing which kind are you trying to get rid of, will give you leverage in the fight. But in order to get that upper hand, you need to be able to tell apart both types of mice.

So, we think you will find the comparison table below quite handy in identifying both the house mouse and the field mouse. Some people are having trouble making a difference between mice and baby rats, so you might find this related article useful.

CharacteristicsField mouseHouse mouse
ColourBrown with a white bellyGrey or light brown, no white spots
TailLong and thin, without hairsThick and long with scales
Back legsLong and strongSmall
HabitatFields and forestsHomes and storage spaces
HabitsStores food in its burrowEats everything it finds on the spot
SmellNoneNests smell awful
You may also like:
Pest Problems
Do Rats and Mice Live Together? Can Your Home Be Infested with Both?

And now let’s look into both mice species a little closer…

The field mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus)

Rudmer Zwerver /

The field mouse is one of the most widespread species in the UK. Just like most other types of mice, the field mouse is also nocturnal. This species is also an important part of the woods. They plant trees and provide other habitants of the forest with prey.

Nocturnal birds, foxes, coyotes, snakes and others, all feed on tiny brown field mice. This makes them extremely cautious and hard to catch. They won’t just fall into a trap, they will observe that trap for a couple of days before deciding to near it.

What does a field mouse look like?

The field mouse is light brown in colour, resembling sand and bright white belly. Their tails are as long as their bodies, thin and with almost no hair on them. Adult field mice can be anywhere from 8 to 10 cm long. Add another 7 to 9 cm for their tails and now you have a total size of roughly 19 cm. Their weight is just shy of 30 grams. They also have big eyes and ears.

Where do field mice live?

The field mouse’s natural habitat is the woods, which is why the species is also known as (wood mice). These small rodents plant trees in the woods while hiding their seeds in underground burrows and forgetting about them.

What does a field mouse nest look like?

Field mice normally nest in burrows in open fields, bushes, tree stumps, etc. However, their habits could quickly change if their nest is disturbed. The nest could resemble a cup in form and is usually constructed of various kinds of materials like grass and paper. The goal is to provide a safe and warm space for the next generation of mice.

So, often times field mice can even take things like insulation, rags and other materials it finds close to or inside of your house to use as nesting material.

Do field mice come into the house?

Field mice usually don’t infest urban areas, so it is not often that you see a field mouse in the house. Field mice are found only in properties around open fields, forests, big gardens, farms and others. There is usually plenty of food for wood mice in the woods, however, the shelter, warmth and protection of a human house have no match.

Infestations usually happen during the cold months. If you haven’t seen any clues that your property is being infested by the arrival of spring you may have a colony in your basement and walls.

Are field mice dangerous?

They are. Not only can they cost you a lot of money on repairs caused by those rodents on wooden frames, plastic pipes and cables, but the wood mouse is also a carrier of the “Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome” virus. This respiratory illness could be lethal to humans.

The bad thing is, that it’s much harder to notice a field mouse infestation. Their nest doesn’t smell, they don’t get out during the day, only at night, and they may not even feed on your food supply. All of this is making them kind of stealthy invaders. This species poses more danger to commercial properties and storage facilities but will infest homes as well on rare occasions.

There is always an easy way out, contact our professionals to exterminate the critters for you.

The house mouse (Mus musculus)

Martin Pelanek /

The house mouse, unlike the field mouse, can infest your property any day of the year. No matter if it is your living space or commercial storage. This particular species of mice have always lived next to human activity. House mice originate from Asia and slowly spread out continent by continent thanks to established trade routes. They are well used to humans and are far more prone to fall for traps than field mice.

What does a house mouse look like?

House mice are almost the same size as field mice. From 7 to 9 cm long bodies, plus the same length tail. The colour of house mice is what sets them most apart from field mice. The entire bodies of house mice are grey or light brown. Their ears and eyes are big for their heads. The feet of house mice are small and they can’t jump as far, or high as wood mice.

House mouse facts

House mice are so accustomed to life around human activity that they just don’t stand a chance in the wild. These mice always seek ways to get inside our habitat and invade it. Our rubbish is what they make nests out of and our stored foods are their food source as well.

House mice prefer grained foods but will eat almost anything they can find. Usually, they will devour around three grams of food, but will constantly nibble on other materials to file their front teeth. The biggest benefit those small rodents have, living in our presence, is that we tend to ward off lots of their predators.

Are house mice dangerous?

Well actually, statistics-wise they should be more dangerous than field mice because they invade our personal space more often. They also transmit bacteria and diseases and their nests could be quite gruesome and filled with germs. The excrement they leave behind should not be touched with naked hands and even the dust from their nests could be dangerous.

You may also like:
Pest Problems
How Much Does a Mice Control Service Cost

How can you tell if you have a mouse infestation and what to do about it?

If you are suspecting there are mice infesting your home, regardless if it’s a field or a house mouse, there are several common signs that can confirm your suspicions.

  • Mice dropping and urine close to food sources, which could be in cabinets or drawers, as well as in proximity to nesting areas.
  • Small pieces of paper, fabric or insulation that look like they’ve been nibbled on.
  • Unusual holes in walls and floors which are used as entryways.
  • Foul smell around the house.
  • Strange noises at night.

And, of course, the most telling sign is a sighting of a mouse indoors or finding its nest. Still, keep in mind that seeing one mouse does not necessarily mean there is a full infestation going on.

However, it is still best to investigate further. Look for any of the signs listed above, find and seal possible entry points, keep rubbish and food around the house tightly sealed, and clear out dense vegetation close to the property.

Read further about the sure signs of mice infestation in the house here.

Need help? Book a mice control service

Still not sure if it’s field or house mice? Whatever your unwelcome visitors may be, our rodent control service is at your disposal. We’ll first perform an inspection of your property and then treat the premises with highly-effective professional pesticides.

Are rodents bothering you?

Let a certified pest control specialists help you.

Add a valid postcode e.g. SE1 2TH


  • It is most likely to be infested with house mice.
  • House mice are actually dangerous.
  • Field mice have similar behaviour with squirrels.
  • House mice smell bad.
  • House mice originate from Asia.
  • Field mice are the most widespread species in the UK.


Was your property infested with field mice? What other species do you want to learn to differentiate? Please, share in the comment section below.

Image source: depositphotos / lifeonwhite, icefront

4.3 13 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x