Mice are mainly active at night and usually confine their movements to areas where adequate cover is available. They tend to use the same path when moving from refuge to feed source. Within buildings, these movements are often confined to walls or natural barriers, beams or pipes, and result in the formation of smear marks. In the field, distinct paths are formed through vegetation.
It is difficult to keep mice out of buildings and storage facilities because of their ability to swim, dig, jump up to at least 300 mm, jump down at least 2.5 metres without injury, and squeeze through openings as small as 8 mm wide. In addition, they can run up most rough surfaces, run down ropes and electric wires, and climb upside down along wire mesh.
The adults eat between 3 and 5 grams daily of a wide range of foods. In food storage areas their diet can include cereals, vegetables, meat, fish, bread, biscuits, peanuts, cheese, rolled oats, rice, wheat germ, apple and melon. Mice living in field conditions are able to survive on the seeds of the native grasses and grains.
They will sample all foodstuffs available within their range and may not return to a particular feed type for several days. This information is important when determining the type of material to be used as bait, where to place the bait and how often to change the type of bait. Mice can live and breed without drinking water as long as their diet has a moisture content of at least 15 percent. This moisture can be contained in the leaves, stems or roots of plants and may be available as dew. If mice live in dry conditions near buildings they need water to survive, so their activity can be limited by cutting off their access to water.