How Long Can Mice Live Without Food? (Find Out Now!)

Jessica Stone
by Jessica Stone

From baited traps to electronic deterrents to natural repellents, there are numerous ways to get rid of a mouse infestation in the home. However, preventing them from getting the food and water that they need can prove incredibly effective at eliminating a rodent problem. While mice may be resilient, like us, they still need food and water to survive. Reducing their daily intake can help with mouse control. But, exactly how long can mice live without food?

Mice can only live between two and four days without consuming at least some form of food. Since mice get the majority of their moisture (water) from their food, they can only survive as long without food as most mammals (including humans) can last without water – just a few days.

With this in mind, continue reading to learn more about how long mice can live without food, how to limit their food supply, and certain conditions that may allow mice to survive, even without food and water.

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What Do Mice Eat?

Before we dive too deeply into the topic of ‘how long mice can survive without food,’ it’s helpful to be aware of what mice eat. Mice will munch on pretty much any sort of food. However, what they specifically eat will depend on where you live, as wild mice, urban mice, and rural mice all have different food sources.

Rural mice eat literally anything they can get their tiny hands on, including carcasses. Wild mice, however, are usually vegetarians, feeding on plants, vegetables, fruits, or seeds in open gardens. On the other hand, urban mice live off of what they find in the trash and enjoy eating meat. It’s also well known that they will eat any “human food” that they can get ahold of.

How Long Can Mice Live Without Food?

Like most animals, mice get the majority of their energy from their food. Though, the items that they consume are crucial, as their digestive system works immediately. This causes mice to crave a meal only a few hours after the previous. Mice tend to nibble on small amounts of food more frequently, since they can reach small areas where food is stored. They can even squeeze into holes as small as a penny.

As such, you typically won’t even know what food mice are eating or where their food supply is. Even the smallest amount of food, or simply crumbs lying around on the floor, can sustain mice for quite some time. Unlike other animals, mice do not need a ‘full meal’ to give them enough energy. Just a few bites can keep them alive and well.

When you consider mice’s fast digestive system and their constant craving to consume more and more, mice can only live between two and four days without food.

How to Limit Mice’s Food Supply

Since mice can get into teeny tiny spaces, it’s nearly impossible to completely eliminate their food sources. Though, there are specific measures you can take to reduce the amount of food that’s available to them. That said, here are some steps you can take to limit your mice’s food supply:

  • Close off all known probable mouse food sources.
  • Keep your floors, especially those in your kitchen, clean and free of crumbs at all times.
  • Exterminate insects and any other pests that the mice might feed off of.
  • Avoid leaving your dog or cat’s bowl out and full of food, as the mice will eat it.

Food Conditions That Allow Mice to Survive

There are some specific food conditions that may allow a mouse to survive longer than others without food. These are as follows:

External Factors – Indoors vs. Outdoors

How long a mouse survives without food essentially depends on their environmental condition. In colder climates, a mouse that travels from one place to another to seek out shelter and avoid predators will have much higher energy levels than a mouse that lives indoors.

In contrast, a home that is free of predators or one where the inhabitants are not aware of the presence of mice, allows free and open access to food. In this environment, mice do consume as much energy on movement. With this in mind, survival conditions vary based on external factors, like the environment that the mouse grows in and the energy it uses on a daily basis.

Alternate Food Sources

If you’ve cleaned up your home and sealed off all potential food sources but the infestation persists, there may be some alternate food sources at play. Mice won’t simply die after two to four days if they have access to alternative food sources to help sustain them. One of the main examples of an alternate food source, for mice especially, is water.

Even the slightest amount of moisture is enough for a mouse to consume for survival. Additionally, mice are typically smart enough to stash food in hiding spots to return to later on. Therefore, eliminating food sources may lower a mouse’s chance of survival, but it’s unlikely that it will kill it.

How Long Can Mice Live Without Water?

Consuming water and staying hydrated is imperative for all living things to survive. It helps with food digestion, regulating body temperature, and prevents toxins from forming in one’s body. Above all, it is crucial for survival and to provide necessary energy. Like all other living things, mice require water to survive.

While they may be able to only go between two and four days without food, mice can survive for months without drinking any water. This has to do with the fact that mice receive sufficient moisture from the food they eat, which keeps them hydrated enough to not need additional water consumption.

That said, if you eliminate food but water sources are still available, the mice will just keep drinking the water and survive for months. Some steps can you take to limit the amount of water available to the mice are as follows:

  • Only place water for your pets at designated times during the day and then remove any remaining liquid.
  • Ensure that taps are securely closed.
  • Make sure you basement, crawl space, and areas outside near your foundation are free of puddles and standing water.
  • Use a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture in the air and ‘drinkable’ condensation.

Water Conditions That Allow Mice to Survive

A mouse’s water does not have to come from a viable source. Mice can consume water from both direct and indirect means, so long as they get the necessary moisture. Let’s explore the difference.

Direct Water

Direct water simply means consuming water from sources like puddles, lakes, streams, and other visible water sources. In your home, direct means of drinking water would be from your sinks, drains, and water condensation that forms on your walls or pipes.

Indirect Water

On the other hand, mice can live without ‘directly’ drinking water. As previously stated, mice survive off of the moisture they get from the food they eat and hydrate as needed. Even some food items that are too dry for human consumption have the necessary water content for a mouse to survive.

Three Steps to Eliminate Mouse Infestation

As previously mentioned, it’s difficult to kill mice by simply just eliminating their food and water supplies. Instead, you need to combine this approach with other methods. Follow this simple three-step plan to get rid of your mouse infestation once and for all:

  • Start by eliminating or reducing all potential food and water supplies, as stated above.
  • Set up traps with food that is appealing to mice, such as cream cheese or peanut butter. This will compel the mice consume the bait and/or poisoned food.
  • Once your mouse infestation seems to have petered out, implement electronic and natural mouse repellent methods to keep them away. Also, be sure to seal off any possible entry points.

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Related Questions

How much do mice drink on a daily basis?

Again, any supply of clean drinking water can sustain a mouse for several months. If the climate is very hot, an adult mouse will drink about 24 to 35 ml of water daily. However, 10 ml per 100 grams of body weight is the average intake for an adult mouse.

Can mice live their whole lives without drinking any water?

While it’s very unlikely for any mouse habitat to be without food or water, if this happens, the mouse will probably just leave the area in search of sustenance. If they settle in a location that has a lot of food and water, it’s unlikely they will move.With this in mind, treating a mouse’s food and water supply is the most effective way to reduce the likelihood of survival. Pair this approach with other mitigation strategies and even if a mouse doesn’t drink any water, it probably won’t survive because of the preventive measures you took.

How long can a mouse live in a trap?

If you have a trapped mouse and it hasn’t escaped by chewing its way out, it will survive for no more than three to five days. However, it may die quicker from exhaustion or suffocation.

Jessica Stone
Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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