If you grew up watching Tom and Jerry cartoons, you are probably of the opinion that mice are cute little creatures. However, although mice can make sweet little pets, once your home is overrun with the critters they stop being cute and start being a real nuisance. So how can you tell if you have mice in residence?
Strange Noises in the Night
Mice are fairly noisy creatures and although they tend to stay hidden during the day, it won’t be long before they make their presence known at night. Once darkness falls, they come out to feed and explore, so if annoying scratching sounds regularly keep you awake at night, either you have a pesky poltergeist or there are mice in residence.
They are not fussy about where they do their business and piles of mouse droppings are a good indication that you have a rodent problem. they typically leave droppings along their well-traveled routes. Since the kitchen is likely to be a major attraction, expect to find mouse feces on shelves, in cupboards and along the edge of skirting boards. One way of checking to see whether an infestation is recent is to clean up the droppings and then wait to see if fresh ones reappear.
Check out dusty areas and see if you can spot any tell-tale footprints. Unlike rat footprints, mice footprints are quite small. In little used spaces you may be unsure of whether the prints are recent, so if in doubt, sprinkle some flour down and check within a couple days to see if there are any new footprints.
A Nasty Smell
Mice smell pretty bad when there are lots of them together. Mouse urine has a strong stench of ammonia, which makes it hard to ignore unless you have zero sense of smell. The average mouse pees an awful lot during the course of their travels and they tend to pee whilst feeding, which doesn’t bode well for your kitchen cupboards and counter tops.
Most mice are naturally cautious as they move about at night, which means they stay close to skirting boards and walls. Their fur is full of natural oils, so each time they brush up against a hard surface it leaves a greasy skid mark along their favorite routes.
If you have spotted a mouse you can be confident that there are dozens more hiding in the dark recesses of your home, waiting for the lights to go out and the humans to go to sleep. If you have cats in residence, expect to fall over disemboweled carcasses at regular intervals, although cats are pretty good at discouraging them to move on somewhere else.
How to Deal with a Mouse Infestation
They can spread diseases and are a massive hygiene problem in the kitchen. There are plenty of mouse traps, humane and otherwise, available, which can be effective. However, if you suspect that you have a serious infestation it is probably a better idea to call in a good exterminator to deal with the problem.