I've read on many pest control websites that if you catch a mouse in your home that they must be taken 1+ miles away, otherwise they will easily make their way back to their old home (ie. your house).

I live in a suburban street in an urban part of London. How could a mouse realistically find its way back to my house if I dumped it in the local park, 0.2 miles away?


Cropped screenshot of Mousetraps.org.uk


In the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal issued by the CDC, there is a report of a trial that involved one pinyon mouse (P. truei) and 19 deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus). The trials states that when removed from the location of the infestation and dislocated at to different distances ranging between 50m and 1200m, adult deer mice made their way back almost every time, other age groups of deer mice took longer time - up to 2 weeks and many of them were found near the original location within 24 hours of release[1].

Some rodents have been documented to move similar distances (e.g., 1,200 m), but they took more than 2 weeks to complete the trek [2].

Homing ability, site fidelity, and navigational proficiency of rodents are well documented [3,4]


All credits to the editors of EID Journal.

  • Great answer. I'd love to know HOW they do this amazing feat. – Django Reinhardt Nov 11 '14 at 11:27
  • Thanks. I would love to know how they do it too. The interesting part is that it's not common in all species, which means some species have it embedded in their DNA, and discovering the specific tread that causes this mutation could lead to great medical breakthroughs! – Ansari Nov 11 '14 at 13:47
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    @Ansari: Err... or not. We already know many species with homing instincts. Saying that finding a new species to add to the pile will lead to medical breakthroughs sounds like baseless speculation. – Oddthinking Nov 11 '14 at 15:53
  • @Oddthinking I said "finding the specific tread that causes the mutation" could lead to the breakthrough. I'm talking about DNA my friend, it doesn't matter how big the pile is. – Ansari Nov 12 '14 at 4:32
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    It's worth noting that 1200m is less than a mile, btw. – Django Reinhardt Nov 14 '14 at 14:30

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