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House Mice (Mus musculus) Jumping Abilities

Русский: Мышь домовая Mus musculus

Русский: Мышь домовая Mus musculus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

House Mice (Mus musculus) Jumping Abilities

Knowledge concerning the physical abilities of house mice is essential in effective and efficient control of this incredibly persistent pest species. After all, without knowledge of the capabilities of mice, you will either waste time in unnecessary control or spend insufficient effort in effective control. For example, if you are hunting an animal that never goes out during the night time then hunting during the night would be a complete waste of effort.

So one of the key questions concerning mice is how high can they actually jump? Researchers, William C. Pitt, Robert T. Sugihara et al. investigated this question in their forthcoming article “Physical and Behavioral abilities of Commensal Rodents Related to the Design of Selective Rodenticide Bait Stations” in the July-September 2011 issue of the International Journal of Pest Management 57:3 pp.1-5.

The Study on the Jumping Ability of House Mice (Mus musculus)

The researchers took 42 mice with weights ranging 9.0-16.7 grams (Mean weight was 11.9 grams) and had them jump from the floor to a feeding platform to get food.  The reason for the diversity of weights among the mice was to test the abilities of juvenile mice along with mature mice. What they discovered was that the maximum height that could be jumped by ALL the mice in the study was 9.8 inches (25 cm).

Control Implications of the Study

Why is knowing how high mice can jump important? Well for three interrelated reasons.

  1. First, knowing how high mice can jump can assist you determining damage. If you are looking at food having been nibbled on, you can consider the height and construction of the table to determine if mice might be a possibility. Since rats can jump much higher, you may be able to rule out or in mice or rats.
  2. Second, knowledge of their jumping ability provides you with options concerning the placement of control techniques. For example, you can place bait stations or snap traps or other mechanical control techniques off the floor and still have confidence that mice can reach it.
  3. Third, it reminds you to look carefully at a structure when looking to exclude mice. Simply knowing that a mouse can’t climb to a specific location (which for mice would be rare), you still have to consider whether the mouse could “jump” to the location.


Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control professional (CWCP) and is available for consulting, speaking, workshops, and writing on wildlife damage management related issues.

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