Both these species can be found in Urban and Rural areas and often in close contact with humans.
First up: Deer Mice
Deer mice (peromyscus) are usually about 5-8 inches long and can be distinguished from common house mice by their larger eyes and two-toned bodies. Generally, a deer mouse will have a darker colour over their backs with white on their abdominals and limbs.
Their name is in reference to their agility and deer mice are known to be accomplished jumpers and runners, especially in comparison to house mice.
While mice can be cute, they are a pain, because not only will they gnaw on food storage and leave little brown "presents" for you, they can be a health problem. Deer mice are the primary reservoirs for Hantavirus and they can carry lyme disease and they can also be carries of Ehrlichiosis (tick-borne bacterial infection), Babesiosis (maleria-like parasitic disease), salmonellosis (baterial food poisoning) and bubonic plague.
Now: House Mice
House mice are considerably smaller than deer mice at only about 2 inches long. This species is the most common rodent pest in most parts of the world because they are able to adapt to changing conditions and they breed throughout the year.
They are the most domesticated and as pets, fancy or labratory mice. As labratory mice, they are one of the most important model organisms in medicine and biology and they are the most used genetically altered labratory mammal.
Their appearance can vary in colour from white to grey or light brown to black and they have short hair with very little hair on their tails and ears.
House mice are adept at thriving under a variety of conditions and can be found in and around homes and commerical structures as well as in open fields and agricultural lands. They can live anywhere in a house--they will nest in wall spaces, under floors and around cupboards or under counters.
There are diseases that house mice can carry and potentially pass along to humans. These include:
- Leptospirosis-aka. Weil's Syndrome, 7-day fever, canicola fever, canefield fever, nanukayami fever, Rat Catcher's Yellow, Fort Bragg fever, black jaundice and Pretribal fever. It is one of the most common diseases transmitted from animals to people, however it is a relatively rare bacterial infection in humans. The infection is commonly transmitted to humans by allowing water that has been contaminated by animal urine to come in contact with unhealed breaks in the skin, eyes or with the mucous membranes.
- Murine typhus-aka. endemic fever. This is a form of typhus
- Rickettsialpox- This is an illness caused by a bacteria of Rickettsia
- Tularemia-aka. Pahvant valley plague, rabbit fever, deer fly fever and Ohara's fever- this is a serious infectious disease caused by bacterium Francisella Tularensis.
- Lymphocytic choriomengitis- this is a rodent-borne viral infectious disease the presents as aseptic meningitis, ensephalitis or meningencephalitis.
- Salonellosis- bacterial food poisoning, infection with or disease caused by bacteria of the genus Salmonella typically marked by gastroenteritis but often complicated by septicemia, meningitis, endocarditis, and various focal lesions (as in the kidneys) when food is contaminated with infected rodent feces.
- Bubonic plague.
- Live sightings (obvious right?)
- Gnaw marks
- Rub marks
- Damaged goods such as food