The 6 Types of Mice in the UK

The 6 Types of Mice in the UK

In the UK, there are currently six different mouse species, five of which are native and one (dormouse) being accidentally introduced in the early 20th century.

Mice Safeguard Pest Control

Whether you have spotted a mouse in your house or commercial property or you’re simply curious about the different mice types, we have created an all you need to know guide on the different types of mice found in the UK.

House mouse (Mus musculus)


Arguably the most common type of mouse found in both residential and commercial properties. This is because house mice enjoy living near us and around us. House mice are, for the most part, harmless but in large numbers, they can cause structural and hygiene problems, especially for businesses.

How to identify a house mouse

House mice are the most basic type of mouse and can be characterised by the following features:

  • Colour: light brown with a lighter belly
  • Lifespan: about one year in the wild
  • Size: between 8 – 12cm (their size does not differ whether its a female mouse or a male mouse)
  • Distinctive features: large circular ears and a strong smell (see our guide on mice smells for more information on this)

What do house mice eat?

House mice rely on a diet of nuts and sometimes small insects. They also enjoy cereal and anything with a high sugar count.

What are they like?

House mice are nocturnal creatures that prefer to source food and shelter in the night and rarely come into contact with humans during daytime. They like living with us mainly due to the food and shelter we provide. However, mice are notorious bacteria transmitters and while one house mouse may not cause huge problems, a nest can. If you discover a nest in your property, be sure to contact Safeguard or read our article on the best ways to get rid of mice.

Field mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus)

The field mouse, as its name suggests, takes up its residence in fields across the UK but can find their way into our homes and properties.

How to identify a field mouse

Colour: may be a slightly darker brown with a white belly

Lifespan: about a year in the wild

Size: slightly smaller than the average house mouse, about 8 – 10cm

Distinctive features: large back feet, does not smell as bad as house mice and very shy

What do field mice eat?

Similar to house mice, field mice base their diet on nuts and seeds foraged from the fields where they live.

What are they like?

Field mice are very timid and are rarely seen in the daylight. They are fast on their feed and can jump high thanks to their powerful back legs. Most of their nests are created underground in burrows, and it’s not uncommon for a field mouse to create a nest in your garden.

They are also responsible for helping plant seeds to help the growth of new trees. Their main predators are owls, falcons and other large birds.

Harvest mouse (Micromys minutus)

Harvest mice are the smallest mouse on our UK mouse list and dwell in fields and grassy areas.

How to identify a harvest mouse

Colour: light brown or even orange

Lifespan: 8-12 months in the wild

Size: by far the smallest mouse in the UK, with a size of approximately 6cm

Distinctive features: its small frame, blunt nose and a tail as long as its body

What do harvest mice eat?

Harvest mice will eat anything from vegetation and fruit to small insects found in grassy areas

What are they like?

Harvest are less common to appear in our homes and properties because they’re happy to nest in grassy areas and fields. They are nocturnal and prefer quieter surroundings. 

Yellow-necked mouse (Apodemus flavicollis)

As their name suggests, yellow-necked mice have a distinct yellow band around its neck.

How to identify a yellow-necked mouse

Colour: yellow neck with a greyish-brown fur coat

Lifespan: about a year in the wild

Size: typically slightly larger than your average field/wood mouse

Distinctive features: its yellow neck is the only distinguishable factor when comparing it to a field mouse, other than that, they share many of the same features

What do yellow-necked mice eat?

Similar to the above, yellow-necked mice will eat nuts, seeds and small insects, but they also enjoy sugary foods such as cereal.

What are they like?

Yellow-necked mice are shy and timid by nature and will only source food at night. They predominantly inhabit outside grassy areas but can find their way into our homes and properties if food and shelter is easily accessible.

Differences between mice and other similar animals

Mice can be difficult to identify to anyone who is not a pest control expert, so we have compiled a few of the most commonly asked questions regarding identifying mice below:

What is the difference between a mouse and a vole?

Voles have shorter tails than mice and are usually wider and more stout. Voles also prefer to remain underground and are not commonly found in our homes, unless brought in by a predator like a cat.

What is the difference between a shrew and a mouse?

Again, shrews are usually smaller than mice with a pointed nose and prefer burrowing underground as opposed to living with humans. Shrews are also not considered rodents, instead, shrews are Eulipothphla, meaning they predominantly eat insects. Other Eulipotpgla include hedgehogs and moles.

What is the difference between a mole and a mouse?

Moles are stout creatures that are usually black or very dark brown in colour and have pink noses and claws. Both their ears and eyes are so small it’s difficult to spot them on first glance.

Struggling to identify a mouse?

If you have spotted a mouse or multiple mice in your property, it may be the sign of an early infestation. For this, you can try laying traps to catch the mice before the problem escalates. We have our own article on the best ways to trap and eliminate mice which you may find useful. 

Failing that, if traps aren’t working or you have a mouse problem in a commercial property, you may need professional assistance.

Call Safeguard today and we’ll have a mouse technician out to inspect your property in under 24 hours.

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