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How Long Mice Live Without Food

How Long Mice Live Without Food

Mice. It’s virtually impossible not to recognize these tiny rodents anywhere we go. Even in our homes, we can occasionally spot these creatures strutting stealthily across the floor in search of the tastiest morsels they can place their feet on.

With this, it’s not unknown for these pesky rodents to invade even the hidden corners of our homes in search of food. At some point, mice take the risk of opening food cartons and packages just to gain access to their ration.

But, what if mice can’t find any food source? Can they still survive, and for how long? Well, if these questions piqued your curiosity, then you’re in for a treat. 

 

How long can mice live without food?

If mice cannot find any food source, whether it’s their main staple or their alternate source, mice can live around two to four days without food. In fact, the amount of food mice eat is directly proportional to their hydration status. In a particular study made by scientists regarding the effects of water and food deprivation in laboratory mice, they can manage to scrape by without food so long as there’s water. Mice possess a compensatory mechanism that enables them to regulate fluid once their body detects a lack of it. This compensative effect’s known as dehydration anorexia. Simply put, once a mouse’s body detects lesser fluid intake, its blood vessels constrict to maintain blood pressure and aldosterone levels at optimum levels. Once this system gears up, it signals the mouse to eat less so that there’ll be lesser solutes present to make the already scarce fluid viscous.

No matter what food these little rodents consume, they won’t mind so long as they can refill their energy tanks with it. As mentioned earlier, mice eat whatever they can find in their habitat. Regardless of its nature, rodents are more than happy to munch on it. 

Different factors affect these rodents’ food source. The environment is one. Living outdoors in cold temperatures raises the mice’s energy requirement.

The need to transfer places in search of a safer abode also affects how much food mice need to replenish their energy. Another factor is the presence of predators and inhabitants.

The absence of any predators or inhabitants in their environment equates to free access to their food stock.  Without cats, people, and other dwellers in their area, the lesser energy mice need to constantly move in search of food.

The third factor is the availability of alternate food sources. If mice can find an open area with even the tiniest moisture on it, they can take it for sustenance. Food stocked in their secret hiding places. Dead insects. Fungi, Seeds. 

Though it’s incredible to note how mice manage to survive without eating anything for up to four days, this piece of information can certainly make us more knowledgeable on how to deal with a possible mice infestation in our homes. 

 

How do mice digest their food?

Technically speaking, a mouse’s digestive system can be comparable to that of the human digestive system.

Though the size and some of the functions aren’t necessarily a carbon copy of the other, this is the reason why scientists employ mice as subjects in clinical trials.

Like the human digestive tract, these rodents’ digestive system consists of the following parts:

  • Stomach
  • Duodenum
  • Jejunum
  • Ileum
  • Cecum
  • Large intestines
  • Rectum 

To make it simpler, the food that mice eat follows a process. It first enters their mouth, they gnaw on it with their teeth. Once the food becomes mushy enough with the help of mastication, it then passes through the esophagus straight into the waiting stomach.

But, the one notable thing that sets apart mice from the human population is their metabolic speed. Since their digestive system works the instant food enters it, it’s not unusual for these little rodents to crave for more after merely eating a few hours earlier.

Aside from that, since a mouse’s digestive tract is smaller than humans and their larger animal counterparts, it’s understandable that it can only hold and process a tiny serving of food as well. Think of it like mice need small, frequent feedings for them to survive.

 

What consists of a mouse’s diet?

Whenever someone asks us what mice love to eat, the first thing that we can associate with them is cheese. Though it’s not entirely false, cheese isn’t the only food that these little rodents want to dig in.

So, what food do mice love eating the most? Considering their size, it’ll surprise you that these little rodents don’t have specific food preferences. Whatever comes their way, mice are more than willing to consume it.

Plus, these little rodents are omnivores – they eat both meat and plants. Though they’re the omnivorous type, mice hold a special affinity with fruit, grains, and seeds. But, if they live in urban areas, mice don’t have much time to choose what food to eat – they’ll simply consume whatever’s available to them.

However, if you want a more detailed listing of their favorite meals, then take a look at this list to satisfy your curiosity:

  • Nuts 
  • High protein source
  • Includes peanut butter, peanuts, hazelnut, walnuts, almonds
  • Fruits and berries
  • The fruits’ sweet smell is what lures mice to them
  • Includes apples, pears, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries
  • Plants
  • Grass, twigs, bark, and weed
  • Seeds and grains. Processed or unprocessed, mice can’t help but gravitate toward them
  • Can include oats, birdseed, grass seed
  • Meat. Though less likely, mice will consume this food if the opportunity arises – they don’t hunt for it A meat diet can include rotten fish, red meat, and poultry
  • Salty and sweet foodstuff. Mice love the high sugar and carbohydrate content these foods contain
  • Pet food. No special preference – whatever pets eat, mice are more than ready to munch on the leftovers
  • Byproducts. Food or animal source. So long as they smell like food, mice will dig into it
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