Mouse

Why are they a problem?

Mice are the primary food for mustelids and cats. When conditions are right, particularly mast years where there is a glut of food, mouse numbers can explode, which in turn leads to a population explosion of predators that rapidly turn their attention to native species.

Mice also predate on invertebrates and lizards and eat the baits used in traps set to catch the more worrying rats, mustelids, and hedgehogs.

Description

The house mouse (Mus musculus) is a small furry rodent, with a long thin tail that is about the same length as the body. Long whiskers. Grey-brown above, with a white, grey or brown belly. Body length without a tail is about 115mm, and weight around 15-20g, reaching a maximum of 30g.

Where are they found?

Commonly found everywhere.

Photo: cc Wikipedia
Photo: cc Wikipedia

Conservation activities

  • During mast-generated outbreaks, pre-emptive control operations, usually with aerially-sown 1080 baits distributed over large areas of forests that host particularly vulnerable forest birds. This has a positive flow-on benefit for braided river species adjoining those areas.
  • Where bait is being stolen from traps, trappers have devised several strategies including putting bait in closed tea strainers or baits close to the traps. Contact your local DOC office for more details as local trappers will have a better on-site knowledge of what works best in their area, with minimal risk to non-targeted species. 

More information

From left to right: Norway rat, ship rat, kiore, mouse: Natural Sciences Image Library of New Zealand (photo: Peter E. Smith)
From left to right: Norway rat, ship rat, kiore, mouse: Natural Sciences Image Library of New Zealand (photo: Peter E. Smith)