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How Long Can a Mouse Live Without Food?

Rats and mice are almost everywhere – urban or rural areas. There is an estimated one rat for every person in the United States. Many methods are proposed to eradicate mice infestation, ranging from traps to electric deterrents. However, preventing them from getting food or water can play a significant role in getting rid of rats and mice.

Even though rats and mice are resilient animals, they still need food to survive. If you curb their daily intake, it can assist mouse control. But the crucial question is, how long can mice essentially go without food?

How long can mice go without food?

Mice get most of their energy from the food they consume. The items they eat are necessary as their digestive systems work instantly, allowing them to crave another meal after a few hours.

Mice tend to nibble on tiny bits of food frequently. As they can crawl under tiny holes, they can access areas where food is occasionally stored. There is no given location where their food supply is located, so they tend to nibble on anything that comes their way.

Considering their fast digestive system and constant craving to consume, food is essential to their living process. This means they can only survive between two to four days without food.

Like other animals, mice also need food to survive. However, they differ in the amount they consume. Many animals need a ‘full meal’ to give them sufficient energy. In the case of a mouse or a rat, their ‘nibbles’ or a few bites on anything edible can help them survive for several days.

How can I limit the mice’s food supply?

Since mice can crawl in tiny spaces, it is highly impossible to eliminate their food supplies entirely. However, you can take measures to limit the amount of food available to them. Some of these factors include:

Keeping food in sealed containers

One of the best ways to limit a mouse’s food supply is to keep all food in sealed containers, including both human and pet food. Mice can gnaw through many types of packaging, so it’s important to use containers they cannot chew through, such as glass or metal containers.

Keeping counters and floors clean

Another way to limit a mouse’s food supply is to keep counters and floors clean. Mice are attracted to crumbs and other bits of food that may be left on surfaces. By regularly cleaning your counters and floors, you can help to make your home less attractive to mice.

Storing food in the fridge or freezer

Another way to limit a mouse’s food supply is to store all perishable items in the fridge or freezer. Mice are attracted to the smell of food, so storing food properly can help reduce the chances of them finding it.

Using mouse traps

One of the most effective ways to limit a mouse’s food supply is to use mouse traps. Mouse traps can be baited with various foods, such as cheese or peanut butter, attracting mice into the trap. Once the mouse is caught, it can be released outside, far away from your home.

Sealing up entry points

Mice can squeeze through very small spaces, so it’s important to seal any potential entry points into your home. This includes cracks in walls, gaps around doors and windows, and any other openings that a mouse could potentially fit through. By sealing up these entry points, you can help to prevent mice from getting into your home in the first place.

Using natural repellents

Many natural repellents can help to keep mice away from your home. Some common repellents include peppermint oil, cloves, and cayenne pepper. These repellents can be sprayed around your home or placed inside muslin bags and in areas where mice are likely to enter.

Certain food conditions that allow mice to survive

Specific food conditions can allow a mouse to live without food for an extended period. These include:

Outdoors vs. indoors

How long mice survive without food solely depends on their environmental condition. In cold temperatures, a mouse that runs from one place to another to avoid predators and seek shelter will have higher energy levels than a mouse that remains indoors.

On the other hand, a predator-free home means they have free and easy access to food and require less energy consumed on movement.

In this way, survival depends solely on external factors such as the environment they grow in and the amount of energy they regularly use, moving from one place to another.

Alternate food sources

If you feel you’ve cleaned up your house and covered all food sources to assist mouse control, that might not always be the case. Mice do not necessarily die after those two to four days pass. Instead, they can access alternate food sources that help their survival and sustenance.

One of the primary examples of an alternate food source is water; any open area with the slightest bit of moisture through water means the mouse can consume that for survival. Furthermore, mice are usually smart enough to store food in ‘secret’ hiding places, so they can return to it later.

Additionally, the food you eat is not always the food mice eat. As mentioned above, they survive many things, such as dead insects, underground fungi, seeds, etc. Removal of all these means of food may lower a mouse’s survival.


Mice can also go into what is known as ‘torpor.’ This means that their metabolism and body temperature significantly lowers to help them survive off the little food they have. Their heart rate may also lower, and they might become less active to save energy.

In some cases, a mouse may be able to live up to 200 days without food as long as they have water. While this is not common, it is a possibility that should be considered when trying to get rid of mice in your home.

How long can mice go without water?

Drinking water and remaining hydrated are essential for all living things. It helps digest food, regulates body temperature, and avoids the production of any toxins in one’s body. Moreover, it is imperative for survival and gives one the energy required.

Similarly, mice also need water for survival. While they can go only two to four days without consuming food, they can survive for months without drinking a single sip of water. This is because they get enough moisture from the food they consume first, and the same moisture keeps them hydrated and does not require water consumption.

If you eliminate food but leave water sources open, mice will drink water to survive. Some ways you can limit the amount of water available to them include:

Fixing any leaks in your home

One of the best ways to limit the amount of water available to mice is to fix any leaks in your home. Mice are attracted to water. So if there are any leaks in your plumbing, they will likely be drawn to them. You can help reduce the amount of water available to mice by fixing any leaks.

Removing any sources of standing water from your property

Mice are attracted to sources of standing water, so removing any sources of standing water from your property is important. This may include bird baths, pet bowls, or even puddles formed after a rainstorm.

Using a dehumidifier in your home

Another way to limit the amount of water available to mice is to use a dehumidifier in your home. Dehumidifiers work by removing moisture from the air, which can help to make your home less attractive to mice.

Certain water conditions that allow mice to survive

Water consumption does not necessarily have to be from a visible source. Mice can consume water directly or indirectly if they get the body moisture required.

Direct water

Direct drinking water means lakes, streams, puddles, or any visible water sources. In the home, similar means are available in pipes or walls from kitchen sinks, drains, and water condensation.

Indirect water

Mice can still survive without ‘directly’ consuming water. As mentioned above, they extract moisture from their food and hydrate themselves whenever necessary. Even food items that are too dry for humans to consume contain the ideal amount of water for a mouse’s survival.

Effects of minimal food and water consumption on mice

study on the effects of water deprivation and restriction on mice discovered that acute water deprivation has significant physiological effects, with 18% body weight loss after 48 hours. Interestingly, a weight loss of 15% is detrimental to human survival, and creatures as small as mice are subjected to 18% only 48 hours after water consumption.

Assessing the body transformation soon after water depravity, researchers discovered that a mouse’s body fluids automatically regulate themselves when they notice a lack of liquid coming in. Consequently, vasoconstriction occurs to maintain blood pressure levels and release aldosterone. This bodily function preserves plasma sodium and drives the maintenance of body fluids through cellular dehydration.

The same study concluded that the amount of food consumed by a mouse indicates water consumption. If water deprivation is high, food intake would be low. This compensatory effect is known as dehydration anorexia, which allows reduced food intake to control the number of solutes in the body.

This sort of water deprivation adaption illustrates how long mice can survive without food and water, allowing us to understand their natural bodily functions throughout the process.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about mice and their food

What do mice usually eat?

Mice love to chew on just about any sort of food. However, answering this question specifically depends on where you are situated. This is because urban mice, city mice, and wild mice consume different food types.

Rural mice will eat anything that comes their way, including carcasses. Wild mice are more likely vegetarians and nibble on plants, seeds, fruits, or vegetables in open gardens. On the other hand, urban mice or city mice survive on garbage and enjoy eating meat. They also consume any ‘human food’ they find.

Can mice survive their whole lives without drinking water?

Even though it is highly unlikely for any premises to be without food or water, if that is the case, there is a high chance that the mouse will leave the area searching for energy. They are unlikely to move anywhere if they are situated in a place with plenty of food and water.

Targeting a mouse’s food and water supply is the best way to lessen its chances of survival. Suppose you combine this with other mitigation strategies, even if a mouse does not drink water. In that case, it probably won’t survive due to the preventive measures taken.

How much water do mice drink daily?

Any supply of clean water can be adequate for a mouse’s survival. An adult mouse will drink approximately 24 to 35 ml of water if the weather is extremely hot. However, the average water intake is around 10 ml per 100 grams of body weight for an adult mouse.