How Long Can Mice Live Without Food? It May Surprise You

by Derrick | Last Updated: September 26, 2021

How long can mice live without food? Mice can live without food for approximately 5-7 days. If the mouse has water they could last around 7 days, where if they are without food and water then it would likely be on the lower end.

Knowing How Long Mice Can Survive Can Help Plan A Method To Deal With Them

Is starvation possible to kill mice ? Yes, while it is technically possible to starve a mouse it is highly unlikely that you will be able to strip a mouse from all of its food sources. Limiting the food available to the mouse in and around your house will put some hardship on the mouse and could help it move on to someplace that is a little more hospitable.

One of the best ways to deal with a mouse infestation is a multifaceted approach removing food and water sources, setting different kinds of baits, mouse traps and electronic deterrence devices while sealing up access points to keep any additional mice from accessing your house in the first place.

How Long Do Rats and Mice Live?

Rats and mice can live for differing amounts of time. Most of the lifespan really depends if they are living in the wile where predators are a constant threat, or are they living in a house where predators are for the most part out of the question.


In ideal conditions mice survive from one to two years in a home, but they will reproduce and create an almost exponential increase in the total number of mice in the house over the two years. In the wild the average lifespan ranges from 5 to 6 months due to harsher conditions and natural predators in the wild.

Mice can reproduce in the spring and summer so you will usually see a large infestation, during those seasons, but you may see more inside your house in the winter as the temperatures cool off any mice are looking for places to sustain themselves out of the cold and elements.

Since rats and mice tend to reproduce fast it is important that you get rid of them as soon as possible.


The average lifespan for rat are difficult to determine although it varies a bit from state to state and species to species. Generally they last an average of about 2 years. Typically male rats live a bit longer than the females, this will vary depending on the species.

Rats are generally more resilient than mice and can often last longer in the wild.

How Long Can Mice Go Without Water?

Mice need approximately 4 ml of water per day to remain hydrated and healthy. If being kept as a pet, they should never be kept in an environment with insufficient access to fresh drinking water.

If you are looking to rid your house of mice you should first understand how long mice can live without water. Mice do not need much fresh drinking water to survive, but it also means that they require moist environments to stay hydrated enough to survive.

Typically, a healthy mouse can survive without water for about a week, but some studies have shown some mice can go up to a month without supplemental water other than what they get from food. If the mouse is young and strong, it may survive up to ten days before succumbing to dehydration. However, this largely depends upon the overall physical health of the mouse.

Effects Of Minimal Food and Water Consumption On Mice

A systematic test in mice found that water lack had significant physiological effect with 18% body weight loss after 48 hours. The same study concluded that food consumption indicated water consumption.

If a mouse does not drink enough water, it begins to feel the negative effects of dehydration such as kidney failure and organ damage.

If a mouse can drink water, it will do so in an attempt to stave off the negative effects of dehydration.


Mice generally get the most of their moisture through their diet. They can’t even survive with no food as long as the human can without water. Mice tend to nibble small pieces of food frequently and they can easily reach places where food is gathered through a penny-sized hole.

Even a few drops of food on the floor can last a long time and keep mice healthy.


You can’t kill any rodent simply with food and water restriction. You have to combine it with other means to get rid of mice . You can limit water by not leaving any standing water in the house.

Remove any source of water even if it is just condensation on pipes, sanitation drains or discarded food. This includes not leaving dirty dishes overnight in the kitchen sink.

Remove your pet’s bowls after each meal so they don’t have leftover water that the mice can utilize.

Lastly, check if you have any standing water in the immediate vicinity of you house that they could potentially access.

Food and water should be the main priority in any campaign to eliminate mice from within your house or yard. Leaving scraps of food laying around will keep them coming back for more, but they need to drink too. It is important that you make it harder for them to find water sources and easy access to food sources.

How Can I Limit The Food Supply Of Mice?

It would be very hard to eliminate their food sources entirely. There are methods for limiting the volume of food within your house available to mice. Keep good cleanliness around your house and make sure you are not leaving food in places that can be accessed by mice.

Ensure any dirty dishes are not left overnight when possible.

Keep pet food bowls only out during the day when they can be monitored, clean them after your pets have finished eating.

Clean up any food spills and do not leave any food in your pantry that is not in a secured container.

Other Methods To Control Mice In Your House

As we discussed earlier taking a multi pronged approach to controlling mice in your house is the best method of success long term. While reducing the available food and water available can help, stacking this with other methods of control is essential.


Using traps in key high traffic places within your house can be a useful way to catch mice. Use of traps is one of the most popular means of controlling mice in homes, but be sure you are using the correct kind of trap (see our recommended trap page).

Traps over time will reduce the population of mice within your house or on your property.

Mouse traps come in various forms, some are better suited for outside while others are better for inside. For outside the basic snap-type trap that we are all used to works great. Inside these traps may not always be the best as mice will sometimes run after getting caught and hide behind something or make their way into a wall where they are nearly impossible to retrieve. Nothing is worse than a dead mouse, smelly mouse that you cannot retrieve.

Inside I prefer sticky-type traps as long as you do not have pets within the house (or you can hide the traps in places where the pets cannot access them).

Ultrasonic Pest Repellents

This are generally devices your plug into an electrical outlet and emit an ultrasonic sound that will annoy certain pests including mice. These are pest used after getting the population under control and to help prevent them returning.

Access Management

This would be closing up any access points you can find in your house, find any small holes the mice could be getting in and patch them. This will help you control the mice in your house and keep new ones from getting in.

Animals That Deter or Help Eliminate Mice

Lastly, another effective deterrence method is using animals either within your house or on your property to control the mice population. It is common to see farms use “barn cats” that have free roam of the property to catch mice.

Cats are natural predators of mice and a good method to reduce the population of mice within your house or on your property. If you already have cats or were considering getting one they should be able to assist with controlling mice .

In old times people often kept cats around the house as a pet, but also as a way to keep mice under control within the house.

Mouse Control Vs Mouse Elimination

Understanding control versus mouse elimination is key. If you live in an older house or apartment you may be limited to only settling for control. Older houses have a lot of access points for mice that are hard to completely eliminate. Mice can squeeze through the smallest of cracks.

Apartments can be even harder to eliminate mice because usually you do not have access to control access points throughout the structure, only to your specific apartment.

As we discussed previously if your goal is to control mice, then a multifaceted approach is key where you eliminate food sources and use other control measures such as repellents, traps, and poisons.