Have you identified signs of mice? Are you hearing suspicious scrambling noises in your attic? Have you noticed grubby grease marks along your wall, or an unusual smell from your cupboards? Chances are you could be experiencing a mice problem. Mice are naturally curious creatures. As a result, they will explore their environment, squeezing into the smallest of places, cracks, and crevices with their flexible skeletons. This can make them difficult to spot, but looking out for key signs is a great way to stay aware or identify an issue.
Size: 3-10cm in length
Eating habits: Eat 3g food per day in 20+ meals
Drinking habits: Dietary water and can survive on only 3ml per day
Behaviour: Mice are very inquisitive and are investigative of their environment. This makes them much easier to trap than rats. They are also nocturnal, meaning they are most active searching for food and looking for materials to build their nest at night.
Did you know? A group of mice is aptly referred to as a “mischief”.
Signs of a problem
As mice are nocturnal, they are difficult for us to spot during the day. Instead, we tend to notice the questionable tracks they leave behind. Here are some tell-tale signs there are mice around the home.
- Droppings – you are likely to see droppings left on their travel paths; these are the size of a grain of rice (1-2mm) for mice. Mice can leave up to 80 droppings per day.
- Rub marks – mice typically leave greasy fur marks along their travel routes, for example along skirting boards and walls.
- Gnawed areas – chewed areas and small holes may be noticed on food packets and woodwork, where the rodents have gnawed continuously to keep their incisors short.
- Strong odour – mice have a strong-smelling urine that leaves a musky, ammonia-like odour behind. This is common in drawers, cupboards and pantries, where mice travel and mark their territory.
Where to look for mice around the home
During the cooler autumn and winter months, mice seek refuge in sheltered environments, and our homes provide a cosy option. Keep a look out for mice in these common areas around the home.
- Kitchens – exposed pipe work or cable entries provide a good entry point for mice. Also make sure to check under or behind appliances, such as fridge freezers and cookers for places where mice may hide. Missing or spilled food, such as cereal boxes that have been disturbed is another key sign of mice.
- Loft/ Attic – loft insulation and fabrics provide a great source of material for them to build nests. Look out for any damage to stored materials, also droppings and musky odours that can be strong, particularly in small areas.
- Cellars – Mice are able to squeeze through the tiniest of spaces, including bricks and vents giving them access to basement and cellars.
What about mice outdoors?
Mice are also active outdoors and can cause noticeable damage to sheds, garages, and shrubbery.
- Shed – dark and cluttered corners in sheds provide the perfect environment for mice to build their nests. You are likely to find signs of mice in these spaces where mice are nesting and travelling.
- Garage/ Outbuilding – stored goods as well as pet food and grains typically found in garages and outbuildings offer food sources to mice. Here you can find gnawed areas or spilled grain, even shredded materials that they use to line their nests.
- Overgrown shrubbery – vegetation such as shrubs and bushes provide a good place of refuge for mice. Overhanging branches also allow mice to climb and access other places to explore for food and shelter.
If you think you may have mice in your home, learn more about how to prevent pests in your home in our handy How to Prevent Mice & Rats guide.