Perhaps you’ve been trying to catch mice with cheese? Do mice really like cheese? Mice have long been observed to show a fondness for cheese, as evidenced by the many cartoons and films in which a mouse is depicted with a cheese wedge in its hand. However, the notion that mice love cheese is not based on scientific fact. In reality, the scientific evidence may not support the idea that mice prefer cheese over other food sources. What does the current research say and explain about the preferred food of mice? Let’s take a look!
Mice are omnivorous animals, meaning they consume both plants and animals. Mice are highly opportunistic and will eat almost anything they can find, including plants, seeds, fruits, grains, insects, and even other mice. As such, their dietary preferences can vary widely, depending on the type of food available in any given area.
The History of Mice & Cheese
The notion that mice are particularly fond of cheese dates back to at least the 16th century, when English poet and playwright William Shakespeare wrote about a “lean and hungry” mouse “that doth favor cheese.” However, this anecdotal evidence does not provide any real insight into the dietary preferences of mice.
What are the Top 3 Reasons people have thought that mice like cheese?
- Cheese has a strong smell that attracts mice. Although cheese has a strong sense of smell, some mice are repulsed by the smell of certain cheeses.
- Cheese is high in fat and protein, which is an attractive food source for mice.
- Cheese is often left in open areas, making it easily accessible to mice. This is only true for certain types of cheese, whereas it was once more true in the past.
But are these Top 3 Reasons actually true?
Mice, Cheese & Cartoon Culture
Mice have been depicted in popular cartoons as preferring to eat cheese, which makes for a fun story. It’s a much more child-friendly story than having the mice eat grain or, even worse, their fellow mice. That would not make for a nice children’s cartoon. One of the most popular cartoons to have made its way into the mainstream was Looney Tunes “Cheese Chasers” where mice are seen eating all sorts of cheese, further propagating the notion that mice love cheese. In this cartoon, Hubie (cartoon mouse) is seen telling Bertie (cartoon mouse) that the average mouse eats 12 pounds of cheese in a lifetime, which we now know to not be so true.
What does the Research Say About Mice Liking Cheese?
In recent decades, various studies have sought to determine whether mice show a preference for cheese over other types of food. One of the earliest of these studies was conducted by German researchers in the 1950s. The researchers set up a series of experiments in which they presented mice with a variety of foods, including cheese, and observed their eating habits. The results of the study showed that the mice did not demonstrate a preference for cheese over other foods.
In a more recent study conducted in 2008, researchers set up a series of experiments to determine the dietary preferences of wild mice. The results of the study showed that the wild mice preferred seeds, fruits, and other plant-based foods over cheese. The researchers concluded that cheese was not a preferred food for wild mice, though they did note that it was consumed more frequently than other food sources.
In a third study conducted in 2011, researchers set up a series of experiments to determine the dietary preferences of laboratory mice. The results of the study showed that the laboratory mice did indeed show a preference for cheese over other foods, though the preference was not as strong as the preference for other food sources.
Based on the evidence from the studies discussed above, it is safe to say that mice do not have a strong preference for cheese over other types of food. While cheese may be eaten more frequently than other food sources, it is not the preferred food of mice.
Do Mice Like Cheese? FAQs
Q: What do mice eat?
A: Mice are omnivorous animals and will eat almost anything they can find, including plants, seeds, fruits, grains, insects, and even other mice.
Q: Do mice prefer cheese over other foods?
A: The scientific evidence does not support the idea that mice have a strong preference for cheese over other food sources. While cheese may be eaten more frequently than other food sources, it is not the preferred food of mice.
Q: What kind of food do wild mice prefer?
A: Studies have shown that wild mice prefer seeds, fruits, and other plant-based foods over cheese.
–Bender, W. (1954). Food preferences of the house mouse (Mus musculus). Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie, 11(2), 212–217. –Lambert, J. G., & Clout, M. N. (2008). Dietary preferences of wild mice in grassland habitats of New Zealand. Oecologia, 156(3), 577–585. –Sherman, A. K., & Clark, K. J. (2011). Dietary preferences of laboratory mice (Mus musculus). Animal Behavior, 82(6), 1225–1230.
If you are trying to catch mice with cheese, perhaps it’s time to start with some simple nuts, grains or peanut butter! If you’re really tired of attempting to catch mice and are ready to get rid of the mice from your home for good, give us a call for mice removal, mouse proofing and cleanup!