For many generations, people believed that mice ate cheese due to cartoons and ancient legends. However, that pungent smell of cheese actually is a turnoff to mice, since they would never be able to find such a thing in their natural habitat. As a matter of fact, peanut butter, grains, and fruits high in sugar are what they prefer! Who would have guessed?
Why Do We Think Mice Love Cheese?
There are two theories for this myth:
1. For centuries, people mostly ate a diet high in salty meats, hearty breads, and powerful cheeses. Mice tend to eat whatever is laying around, so of course they are going to nibble on cheese every once in a while if it’s available! Also, the cheese might have been stored in spaces if it needs to “breathe”. And since, resting cheese is non-threatening to mice, it made for an easy meal.
2. People thought that the strong odor of cheese would attract them to the trap, which we know, now, is not the case since mice typically don’t go around crafting their own cheeses; it’s not in their nature.
What Do Mice Really Eat?
When mice are hungry, they snack on any crumbs around. Yes, they will eat cheese, but it is not their first choice. When trying to catch mice, opt for options like peanut butter, chocolate, or any candy high in sugar content. Then, use a piece of thin string like floss or yarn to secure the food to a mousetrap – this way the mouse doesn’t simply take the food and scramble away.
Depending on the trap and what you plan to do with the mouse when it is caught (whether its killed onsite or you let it free), consider opting for a savory bite, since it might be the mouse’s last!
Here are a Few More (Odd) Things that Mice Eat:
When mice are hungry enough, they eat their own tails, and mother mice will even eat their own children! However, if a piece of cheese is present they will take a bite of that before turning to cannibalism, which only occurs in moments of extreme stress.
Wires, cardboard, electrical wires and wood. We have all seen the nibble marks on our garage belongings.
Mice do not eat through walls for the sake of appeasing their hunger; they strategically use their teeth as tools when trying to get from point A to point B, and are avid explorers. Their long teeth are like a shovel, great for moving and breaking through unwanted materials.
Other Eating Facts
Despite the strange eating habits of mice, at the end of the day, they crave grains and sugar, just like the rest of us. However, they will eat whatever is around if they are hungry enough (including themselves!), as they tend to eat about 15 to 20 times per day because of their extremely high metabolisms.
They have six taste buds (unlike the human’s five), of sour, salty, bitter, savory, sweet and the extra one: calcium. It is a good idea to let their last meal be a delicious one since they certainly will enjoy it!