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How Long Can Mice Live Without Food?

Last Updated: 14.07.24


“Tom & Jerry” might have been your favorite cartoon growing up, but there is a reason why mice shouldn’t live near houses or crops, and that is because they are pests. Unless you own some quality mouse traps or devices that will cast them away for good, these rodents can cause real damage to your house structure and eat your crops.

Mice are resilient creatures that have a nasty habit of sticking to a certain place and colonizing it if they think it will provide the necessary conditions for survival. And, unless you keep them in cages and call them your pets, these rodents shouldn’t roam freely on your property as they are known as disease carriers and will end up destroying all your goods.

So, how can you fight against these pests and, more importantly, how do you prevent them from coming back to your property after a while?


Pesticides, traps, ultrasound devices

Throughout the centuries, people have managed to master the art of removing pests and protecting their foods from the craving mouths of unwanted visitors. From pesticides containing poisonous chemicals to traps, and even the most recent ultrasound devices, all of these methods have proved effective in most cases.

However, often enough, these creatures won’t leave a good spot just because of some minor disagreements with their landlords. On the contrary, they will just find new ways to get into your house through each corner, hole or crack that is big enough for them to fit in.

If this happens, you should prepare yourself for a long, psychological war, as mice are smart creatures that won’t give up easily. When all the previously mentioned eradication methods fail, it’s high time you thought one step ahead and deprived them of the two things they cannot live without – food and water.

How long can mice live without food?

It seems like Mother Nature created all animals differently, depending on the climates they live in. For instance, camels can live without water in the desert for weeks in a row, while crocodiles don’t need more than one big meal a month to survive. Experiments suggest that humans are quite strong creatures too, as they can go without food for 10-14 days should they remain hydrated.

Rodents, on the other hand, need food and hard objects to chew on constantly, and this is why most of them won’t survive without food for too long. Studies conducted in the field suggested that mice can only live for a few short days without having a meal, which you can turn into your advantage if you want to get rid of these animals for good.

Mice receive most of the needed moisture or water from the foods they eat. In other words, they will only survive for 6-7 days without food but for only 4-5 if they are also water deprived.

Unlike other rodents, including hamsters or other distant cousins, mice don’t have cheek pouches where they can store food, meaning they won’t be able to “take one for the road” in case things get rough.

However, they do possess extremely sharp teeth and can nibble tiny bits of food constantly, no matter where or how they find it. In addition, they will also chew on various materials, including wood, which will keep them busy for a while.

Another thing to consider is that even the smallest crumbles count as food. Mice are rather small so they won’t actually require large amounts of food to survive. In other words, each crumb left unswept from the floor can represent a delicious snack for mice and can provide them with enough energy to keep on bugging you.


How do you limit mice’ access to food?

If you want to get rid of these rodents once and for all, you should understand that nothing should be left to chance. Keep in mind that these pests are true survivors and they produce enough offspring to become a problem for you and your house for years.

The first thing you should do is make sure your house is entirely cleaned. Seal off any potential mouse food sources like barns, basements, kitchen counters or other types of storage units. Where possible, put traps and poison on the floor, and store the food on high shelves.

Don’t forget to wash and clean the kitchen floors daily. Also, if you have a habit of eating in the living room or your bedroom, make sure the carpets and furniture are crumble-free as well. In fact, it would be better to limit dining at the table and in the designated area, where floors can be easily cleaned after each meal.

Bear in mind that mice are omnivorous animals, so they will pretty much feed on anything and everything. This also includes your cat’s or dog’s food, so make sure you don’t keep their bowls full of food, especially overnight.

Other insects and small animals can also look delicious and nutritious enough for mice, so it would be best to find alternative solutions to get rid of them.

Another successful method to limit the access of mice, rats, and other rodents into your house is to fix any leaks, cracks or holes in the foundation, floors or walls of your construction. These repairs won’t come cheap but proper, thick insulation, won’t allow mice to find a way in and colonize the spot.

What about water?

When food is scarce, these small rodents will resort to drinking water just to survive, and they can do this for weeks in a row, hence the psychological war we previously mentioned. If you want to forget about mice forever, it takes a lot of patience and dedication into keeping your house free of the resources these animals need to survive and reproduce.

One way to do so is by fixing all leaking pipes and removing all water supplies, including standing water in tubs or sinks. You shouldn’t leave water out in your pet’s bowls either but, instead, use an automatic water dispenser that is more complicated for rodents to grasp.

You must also make sure that the basement and all areas outside your home are free of puddles or any source of freshwater.

Keeping the air indoors as dry as possible might seem like an extreme solution but it could prove effective in the long term if you’re willing to “play dirty”.

However, engaging in a war of food and water deprivation won’t get you rid of these pests fast. Most of the times, it will take weeks or even months until eradicating the last member of a mouse clan and claim back your property.

The bigger the house, the more surface you’ll have to cover, and starving mice alone might not do the trick. Thus, we suggest using this method in combination with others, including traps, baits, poison, and ultrasound devices. Nonetheless, you should also consider the health of the rest of the pets in the house, so make sure to keep poison away from the reach of your cat or dog.




1) Fancy mice : their varieties, management, and breeding

2) How to control eating behavior in mice

3) Mouse Facts: Habits, Habitat & Types of Mice

4) How Long can Mice go Without Food and Water?



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