What do mice eat

What do mice eat? Foods that mice like & how to prevent It

Avatar of author Ismael Girard
Ismael Girard
min read

Have you seen tiny bites on your cereal box? It might mean a mouse has been sneaking around your snacks.

With the climatic situation lately, you're not the only one finding mice in your home.

Actually, lots of people find out they're sharing their home with mice and it's more common than you might think!

Knowing what mice like to eat helps us keep them away. Truth is, these small rodents aren't picky; they eat lots of different things we have in our homes.

In this article, we'll answer the following questions:

✔️ What do mice eat?

✔️ What are mice eating habits?

✔️ What are the different diets of each type of mice?

✔️ How to stop mice from scavenging your pantry?

Let's find out what mice enjoy eating and how we can keep them from our snacks.

What do mice eat?

mice eating in the fors

Understanding the diet of mice reveals they’re not picky eaters, and that they'll likely be indulging in a variety of grains, fruits, seeds, nuts, and even sweets.

As omnivores with a keen sense of smell, they’re drawn to high-carb nutrients and favorite snacks like:

Grains & Sweets

  • Bread, cereal
  • Chocolate – a weakness for many

Proteins & Fats

  • Peanut butter – a favorite
  • Pet food – opportunistically scavenged

Household Items

  • Paper products – not just for nesting material
  • Scraps – a treasure trove

Specific preferences for carbohydrates, sweets and processed nutrients

If you're asking yourself: Will mice eat potatoes? You have to understand that mice always exhibit a strong preference for carbohydrates, even though they can be particularly drawn to sweets and certain processed foods despite potential dietary restrictions.

Despite popular belief, a hungry mouse isn’t picky and will gravitate towards what mice love to eat.

What are mice eating habits?

You might wonder how mice find their snacks and what dictates their dietary choices. How often mice eat is influenced by keen senses and a natural tendency to scavenge at night.  

Let’s explore how mice hunt, their sense-driven foraging, their varied taste-testing, and even instances of cannibalism under stress.

How do mice hunt?

Mice rely heavily on their keen sense of smell, tactile whiskers, and albeit limited vision to skillfully forage and hunt for their varied diet. Here are 3 of their biggest hunting characteristics.

  1. Sense of adventure: Mice venture into homes in search of things mice eat, like grains and fruits.
  2. Non-picky: What mice eat in house will most likely correlate with pet food availabilty or old leftovers, creating an emotional tug for homeowners.
  3. Nighttime scavengers: Mice are often nocturnal and refer the shroud of darkness to discreetly nibble on what's available.

Mice’s cannibalistic behavior in certain conditions

The question we get a lot is: will mice eat dead mice?

While you may be aware of the diverse diet mice enjoy, in times of starving or other stressors, they’ve been known to exhibit cannibalistic behavior.

This unsettling tendency can deeply affect those wishing to serve and protect their community from the hazards of a mouse problem. Here’s what you should know:

  • Starving: Desperation leads to survival instincts kicking in.
  • Territoriality: Dominance disputes can turn deadly.
  • Illness: Weak or sick mice may fall victim to their kin.

Recognizing the signs of a mouse infestation is crucial. If you’re facing such a frustrating undertaking, don’t hesitate to seek professional handling.

Looking around your home for signs such as mouse droppings can alert you to their presence. However, it's not just about finding what they eat; it's about understanding their behavior to implement effective pest control measures.

To ensure your efforts are effective, it's essential to make sure you use the right pest control strategies. From setting high quality mouse traps to sealing entry points, every measure you take goes a long way in combating a mouse infestation.

What are the different diets of each type of mice?

You’ve learned about the general diet of mice, but it’s essential to recognize that not all mice munch on the same things.

House mice, deer mice, and field mice each have unique diets shaped by their environments and lifestyles.

Let’s explore how their menus differ and what each species prefers to eat.

House mice

The house mouse often prefer seeds and insects, setting them apart from their deer and field mouse relatives.

The house mouse doesn't need much to thrive—a mouse nest can be made from shredded cardboard boxes, and they require only minimal access to food items. Yet, even a tiny amount, if plenty of food inside is available, can sustain the house mouse, compelling us to be vigilant in keeping our spaces clean and secure.

Deer mice

In contrast to house mice, deer mice exhibit distinct dietary preferences, often including a wider variety of seeds, fresh fruits, and insects, which reflect their adaptability to diverse habitats and potential health risks they pose through zoonotic diseases.

It’s important to know that preventing access to these food sources can help manage and prevent the spread of deer mice and the health risks they carry.

Field mice

While deer mice are known for their diverse diet, field mice, including meadow mice and voles, exhibit their own unique feeding habits and preferences shaped by their physical characteristics and habitats.

They feed on plant stems and leaves, tree bark during winter, roots and bulbs, which they forage with determination. Compared to other types of mice, field mice aren't too drawn to human leftovers in garbage cans or bird food feeders.

How to stop mice from scavenging your pantry?

You’ve learned what mice eat; now it’s time to ensure they’re not feasting on your pantry items.

We’ll explore how to safeguard your home from these pesky invaders and discuss which bait works best in mouse traps.

Like mentioned earlier, mice can eat almost anything, but they have a particular fondness for grains like corn and oats, as well as vegetables. This preference makes these items especially good bait for traps.

Additionally, you’ll discover preventative strategies to keep mice at bay and protect your food items.

Tips for protecting your home from mice

To safeguard your home from mice and prevent them from raiding your pantry, start by meticulously sealing up potential entry points and ensuring food is stored in airtight containers.

  • Seal access points
  • Inspect walls and foundations for cracks
  • Install door sweeps and weather stripping
  • Use steel wool around pipes and cables
  • Invest in robust, sealable containers
  • Keep pantry shelves tidy and free of crumbs
  • Maintain regular cleaning
  • Wipe surfaces after meal prep
  • Sweep floors daily
  • Engage a professional pest service for regular inspections

Effective foods for mouse traps

Arm your mouse traps with irresistibly effective baits such as peanut butter, or even your dinner leftovers to ensure mice stop eating your provisions. Pest control is not always easy, but understanding what mice consume every day can guide you to choose the most enticing baits.

While the stereotypical notion is that cheese is a mouse’s go-to snack, it’s not their top choice. They’ll still partake, but to maximize your success in catching them, stick with their preferred snacks.

This insight into their dietary preferences can make pest control more straightforward, allowing you to live in peace knowing you’ve taken every measure to protect your home.


You’ve got the scoop on mouse munchies now. From grains to leftovers, they’re not picky. Remember, house, deer, and field mice have their preferences.

These critters are nibblers, snacking round the clock. Keep 'em away by sealing your food tight and maintaining a clean space.

Follow these tips and you’ll make your home a lot less inviting for these furry intruders. Stay vigilant and you can keep those nibbles in your pantry mouse-free!

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Frequently asked questions

Do mice really like cheese?

Contrary to popular belief, mice don’t actually favor cheese over other foods, as they lean heavily towards carbohydrates and they rarely encounter dairy products in the wild. The stereotype of mice scampering for cheese is a bit misleading. In reality, these little creatures would be more delighted to stumble upon carbs, grains, seeds and fruits.

Do mice store their food?

Mice, both of the wild and house variety, instinctively engage in food storage, often tucking away items like grains, seeds, fruits, nuts, and insects for safekeeping near their nests. This habit stems from their need to ensure a consistent food supply, as they can’t always predict the availability of their next meal.

How does the diet of urban mice differ from that of rural mice, if at all?

Urban mice often eat discarded human foods and trash, while rural mice may feed more on grains, plants, and insects. You’ll find their diets adapt based on what’s available in their environment.