Mice Infestation Facts

Everything You Need to Know About Mice

The mouse is a small mammal, part of the order of rodents. The best-known species is the common house intruder – house mouse (Mus musculus), which is also famous as a popular pet. In certain places, another kind of field or deer mice are also an occasional nuisance because of their tendency to invade properties for food or shelter. Many animals, such as cats, foxes, wild dogs, etc., pray largely upon mice. However, mice possess a remarkable adaptability to almost any environment, which ranks them amongst the leading and successful animals to inhabit our planet.

What Do Mice Look Like?

House Mouse (Mus musculus)

The all-known characteristics of a mouse include a pointed snout, small rounded ears, a tiny body-length tail and a fast breeding rate. Their size can vary between 2 ½ to 4 inches, while their fur colour between light brown to grey. A mouse's weight is less than an ounce and its life expectancy is up to year.

What Do Mice Eat?

It's an urban myth that mice love cheese. Mice are primarily herbivorous, but being exposed to human food they adapt to an omnivorous diet and feast on any kind of food scraps. Nevertheless, their preference remains on consuming grains, fruits and seeds. They have big appetites, having the need to eat around 15-20 times a day which forces them to locate their habitats near a food source.

Where Do Mice Live?

Mice are tough creature that can be found in nearly every country, climate or type of terrain. Meaning they are easily adaptable to whatever is on hand. Mice typically make an underground burrow if they live in the wild, which protects them from predators. They fashion such nests inside houses too or find hiding places, typically in places such as:

  • roof spaces;
  • under floors;
  • attics;
  • basements;
  • wall cavities;
  • stacks of firewood;
  • compost heaps;
  • untrimmed grass or bushes;

Mouse Nest

The RSPCA reports that mice are very territorial. Keep in mind that a mouse can squeeze through cracks as small as 5mm, however, mouse holes are usually around 20-30 mm in diameter.

Mice are nocturnal, hence they sleep during the day and scavenge around the house for food at night.

Do Mice Carry Diseases?

Yes, mice are known carriers of different diseases, viruses and bacteria. Some of these include lyme disease, salmonella, leptospirosis and others. However, only few of the many diseases are transmitted through the common mouse. They are not usually reported and most infections are mild, often even never diagnosed. Nonetheless, mice are also known to contaminate food and damage food packaging.

What are the Signs of a Mice Infestation?

If your property has a mice infestation, most likely it won't take long to find out, unless you are in total denial. Mice are not good in hiding their tracks and leave plenty of evidence, such as:

  • Shredded or chewed on paper;
  • Gnawed wires, wood, furniture, carpets or pipe cables;
  • The smell of urine in certain places;
  • Droppings! Which resemble pointy black grains of rice (they leave an average of 80 droppings per day, per mouse).
  • Noises or squeaking coming from the walls or ceiling;
  • Smears – dark grey marks on walls, made by repeated contact with the oils from the mouse's fur.
  • Mice. If you are harbouring a substantial rodent infestation, you may encounter a live meeting with the mouse kind.

Is There Any Humane Way to Catch Mice?

Yes, there is such a thing as humane critter catchers, which are like the catch-and-release trap approved by PETA. These two are successful methods of catching house mice without killing them.

How to Get Rid of Mice?

Seeing a mouse does not mean that it is your only problem. Mice reproduce very fast, so if you've seen one brave enough to walk around, chances are there are many more hiding and reproducing. If you identify the source of the problem, hence their nest, the problem could experience a temporary solution. A much more reliable approach would be contacting a mouse exterminator. Ensuring your whole property is thoroughly inspected first, the pest technician will treat the infested areas and mouse-proof, providing further instructions on how to prevent re-infestations.

Images by:

  1. Berit Watkin
  2. Valerie Hinojosa