How Long Can a Mouse Live Without Food?

As with all animals that require food for nourishment and to sustain healthy organs, a mouse cannot survive without food, but the exact amount of time a mouse can live without food varies per animal due to its metabolism rate and the amount of food last consumed. A study of food deprivation in mice, “Effects of stress due to deprivation and transport in different genotypes of house mouse,” published by ME Wallace stated that a 20 percent loss of body weight due to a lack of food can cause death in mice. A mouse needs to consume approximately 3 grams of food per day.

As omnivores, mice eat seeds, grains, nuts and cereals as well as foods packed with protein and those with a high fat content, such as sweets, bacon and butter. While mice cannot survive without food, they can live without the need to drink water, as they obtain moisture from their food. However, if there is water available, mice will readily drink it.

The house mouse, Mus musculus, is common in most urban areas. This 2 to 3-inch long mammal originated in southern Asia and was introduced to America where it quickly thrived and became established. Deer mice, Peromysus maniculatus, are native to North America and are just like house mice except for their coloration that is dark on top and light underneath and they have furry tails, as noted by the Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.