Close this search box.

What Do Mice Eat?

what do mice eat

Mice have invaded your home. They’re nibbling on your food. You’re throwing away food because they’ve contaminated what they don’t eat with feces. It looks like they’ve sampled everything in your pantry. When it comes to what do mice like to eat, it appears that there’s nothing they won’t eat. They’ve even chewed on your furniture and pulled tufts from your couch. You put out mouse traps with lots of cheese on them. That hasn’t helped. What do mice really like to eat? What’s the best food to put in traps? Read on for the answers to your questions.

What Do Mice Eat in Nature?

Mice are omnivores. They will eat anything they can get in their little mouths. They prefer fruit, grains, and seeds.

Field mouseIf mice are living near your home, they will eat flowers and seeds from your garden. They’ll also eat from your vegetable garden. Bird seed and feeders provide a nice feast for mice.

Mice do not like to stray far from their food, so they feast on whatever is closest to them. That can include bark, grass, twigs, and weeds when they can’t find seeds. They will eat seeds that have fallen to the ground as well as those still on plants.

Mice Think Bugs Are Tasty. Because they need protein, mice also eat certain insects. They like creepy crawlies that have a slightly sweet taste, including:

  • Beetles
  • Caterpillars
  • Cockroaches
  • Grasshoppers
  • Snails
  • Worms

Certain desert mice snack on scorpions.

If they have no choice but to die of starvation, mice will eat their own tails or other mice. They will also eat their babies.

What Foods Do Deer Mice Like?

Like other mice, deer mice are omnivores. They eat what’s available. Deer mice will go anywhere they can find grains or seeds, as that’s their preferred food. In times of bounty, they stockpile seeds to eat later. They like fresh meat and eat insects and other small creatures.

Mice eat their own feces, a habit known as coprophagy.

When hungry, deer mice scavenge for food more than other mouse species do. They will eat dead plants and dead animals. When they settle in urban areas, trash cans present a buffet for them.

They like to dine on rotting food, especially fruit. Roadkill is another snack they like. There’s information here on what field mice eat.

Mouse’s Favorite Food

Although mice will eat anything they find, they do have preferences.

Their top three favorites are:

Mice food

  1. Fruits
  2. Berries
  3. Nuts

Since these aren’t always available, most of their meals are seeds and grains.

Mice have a sweet tooth. Anything that has a sweet smell will attract them. If you have fruit trees or berry bushes on your property, you’re going to have mice. They’ll eat from the tree or vine, but you make it easy for them if you don’t pick up the berries or fruit that falls to the ground.

Among the fruits that taste the best to mice are:

  • Bananas
  • Coconuts
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Peaches

Your trash can is irresistible to mice when it includes peelings, pits, or scraps from these and other fruits. They like all kinds of berries, regardless of where they find them or if they’ve gone bad.


Mice like vegetables, although not quite as much as they enjoy fruits and berries. Mice teeth never stop growing, so they must always be gnawing on something. If they don’t, their teeth will grow so long that they are unable to eat. Vegetables help them keep their teeth worn down.

They gnaw on crunchy vegetables, such as:

Mouse and broccoli

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery

Vegetables fill a nutritional need as well, so they’ll eat any of your veggie scraps they can find. They’ll also sample the vegetables in your garden and ruin your harvest. Read this article for the answer if your question is do mice like peanut butter.

Mice Are Big Eaters
Mice are energetic little creatures. They have a heart rate of 632 beats per minute and a very high metabolism. They have to eat as much as they can as often as they can. They normally eat 15 to 20 times a night. Their digestive systems process food quickly, so they defecate and urinate soon after eating. That’s why you often find their poop and pee not far from their food supply.
Mice are unable to belch or vomit, so once something is in their digestive system it has to pass through them. Mice have been observed licking food before eating. That’s how they test it for safety before chomping down on it.


You probably have heard that mice love cheese. Mouse traps are frequently shown baited with a hunk of cheese. Mice are often pictured with cheese. Despite all that, cheese is not on the list of foods that mice like.

No cheese for miceMice have two reasons for avoiding cheese:

  1. The smell is too strong.
  2. It doesn’t have a sweet taste.

Cheese contains protein, which mice need, but the smell and flavor override its benefits.

Mice have poor vision and rely heavily on their sense of smell when deciding what to eat. If a mouse is exceptionally hungry, it will nibble on cheese. Cheese will not entice a mouse to a trap under normal circumstances. You can learn what makes the best mouse bait.


Anyone with a chocolate stash knows that mice will nibble on their treat. A mouse can find a small amount of chocolate no matter where you’ve hidden it. They are, however, slightly picky when it comes to what kind of chocolate they’ll eat. Not all chocolate is the same.

Chocolate contains theobromine, which has a bitter taste and is toxic in large amounts. Humans have enough body mass that they can eat a lot of chocolate with minimal side effects. The smaller the animal, the less chocolate it can safely eat.

It’s The Sugar They Like

Milk chocolate has sugar added to give it a sweet taste. Dark chocolate has far less sugar and up to ten times as much theobromine as found in milk chocolate. Mice will eat all the milk chocolate they can stuff in their mouth. ChocolateThey leave dark chocolate alone unless there’s nothing else to eat.

There’s belief that chocolate will poison a mouse. Some believe the mouse will die instantly after eating chocolate. There hasn’t been conclusive research. Certainly, if a mouse consumed a large amount of dark chocolate, it’d probably die of theobromine poisoning. Since they don’t like the taste, mice are unlikely to eat enough dark chocolate for it to be fatal.


Mice tend to be opportunistic eaters. When they’re hungry, they will eat whatever they find. That includes meat. Mice are not hunters. They only eat meat when they find it.

Their meat usually comes from scraps that humans leave behind. House mice particularly like any fats or oils left in places like kitchen countertops. Outdoor mice raid trash cans and dumpsters. When mice live in cities, they find it difficult to eat their normal diets of seeds and grains. Meat, including fish and poultry, then becomes the mainstay of their diet.

What Will Mice Eat in My House?

Mice will eat everything they find in your house. At times, it appears that they are eating your house as well. Mice have adapted to human likes and dislikes. They live anywhere people live and eat everything that people eat.

Whatever food you have on hand is what they’ll have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mice can get through an opening as small as a quarter inch, so it’s easy for them to get into your pantry. Crumbs on the floor provide meals.

Mouse in your house

They’re Eating Everything!

What about things like books, insulation, furniture stuffing? What’s the nutritional value of objects? Actually the mice aren’t eating those kinds of inedible items. They’re chewing them up to make their nests. They like soft nests.

Mice have many litters and need dozens of nests. They build their nests from whatever they can find and can chew into small pieces. Lots of destroyed items is a clear signal that you have lots of mice in your home. How to get rid of mouse nest? Read here.

Gnaw marks on walls and furniture aren’t an indication that mice like to eat wood. Gnawing on hard substances is part of their dental hygiene.

Does My Pet’s Food Attract Mice?

Mice find dog and cat food quite delicious. They’ll eat it anytime that they can find it. Not only will they eat it from your pet’s food dish, but they’ll also chew holes in the bag of food and nibble on the pieces that tumble out. Most pet food contains meats and vegetables. Mice find it tasty and nutritious.

Mice will also take pieces of pet food and hide it to eat later. You may find their stashes in hidden and dark places. What you don’t find can attract other pests into your home.

The Best Bait Food to Use in Mousetraps

The best foods for attracting mice are the ones that smell good.

The three smells that have the most appeal to mice are:

  1. Fat
  2. Protein
  3. Sugar

Mice take tiny bites, so don’t put much food on the trap. Otherwise, they’ll be able to take a few nibbles without springing the trap.

Another tip for attracting mice to your trap is to bait it with items they can use for making nests. Just be sure to attach everything in such a way that the mouse springs the trap when it pulls on the item.

Victor trap

What Food Is Best for Mousetrap Bait?

You already know that mice like pet food, so that’s a good bait to use if you can keep your pets away from the trap. You might want to tempt a mouse’s sweet tooth with a piece of soft candy or a couple drops of honey or syrup.

Bait for mouse trapIf your mice eat meat, try something greasy that smells good. Meats like sausage and bacon are mouse attractants. Again, just use small amounts as bait to ensure that the trap will spring with a mouse takes a bite.

Mice like living with you. There’s plenty of food and lots of nesting material. Since they’re nocturnal, they have the freedom to eat or destroy whatever they want while you’re sleeping. Once they’re in your home, you can use their favorite foods and nesting items to trap them.