Deer Mouse


Actual Size: 5” to 8” long including the tail

Characteristics: Gray to reddish-brown with white feet and underbelly.

Habitat: Build nests in trees or beneath logs outdoors; inside, often found in basements or attics.


  • Prefer to nest in dark outdoor areas
  • Sometimes referred to as field mice or white-footed mice
  • Transmits the potentially fatal Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

Deer Mice in Knoxville TN

The deer mouse gets its name due to its appearance, which resembles a white-tailed deer. Omnivorous and adaptable, deer mice tend to be opportunistic eaters when they inhabit homes and buildings. In nature, the rodents target various invertebrates, seeds, fruits, grains, fungi, flowers, and nuts. The deer mouse typically lives a year in the wild but can survive for two or three years in captivity. These rodents are a common problem in agricultural areas, and will sometimes look for shelter in homes over winter. Their true danger lies in the fact that they are common carriers of hantavirus.

Deer Mouse Habitat

Deer mice are nocturnal creatures that rarely leave their hidden nests during the daytime. Nests are lined with feathers or shredded cloth and can be found in tree hollows, fence posts, abandoned squirrel and bird nests, and the underside of logs and rocks. In homes, deer mice construct nests in low activity areas such as basements, attics, garages, and crawl spaces. They do not hibernate and may invade homes during winter months seeking shelter in storage boxes, wall voids, and upholstered furniture.

Deer Mouse Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Deer mice aren’t as likely to invade homes as other rodents. Throughout most of the year, deer mice nest in outdoor areas that are quiet, dark, and undisturbed. When the weather gets colder during winter, deer mice tend to invade homes, garages, sheds, and sometimes even vehicles. When they get indoors, they are often found in basements or attics. The biggest threat of deer mice is that they are able to transmit the dangerous—and potentially fatal—hantavirus. This disease is often transmitted through contact with mouse carcasses, or by breathing in air-borne urine droplets from infected deer mice. If you are dealing with a deer mouse problem in your Knoxville area home, always contact a licensed rodent control company.