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Mice can be found in nearly every climate across the globe.  They are dirty and dangerous to your home because they damage the structure, they create fire hazards, and they leave behind droppings, odors and cause many other problems.  So how do you know if you have a mouse or rat problem?

Odors

Mice have a distinctive, musky ammonia odor that smells like stale urine. This odor will be especially noticeable in small, enclosed areas such as pantries, cabinets, and drawers. The smell may also be noticeable along walls and baseboards where mice often travel. The smell helps them establish and mark their territory.

Rodent Runways

Mice are creatures of pattern, even to the point of leaving behind traces where they travel frequently. A regular pattern of dirt and smudges along floors and baseboards could be a sign of mouse traffic.  Mice will run along the same paths, usually along walls and baseboards because their movement is less noticeable. Over time these mouse runways will show dirt, streaking and smudging from fur and dirt and you may even find small patches of urine and droppings.

Droppings

Mice leave behind telltale black, cylindrical, droppings that are ¼ inch in length or less and are pointed on both ends. Rat droppings and roof rat droppings are similar but are ½ or larger, while Norway rat droppings are the same size, but blunt on both ends. New droppings are shiny and putty-like in texture, while old ones are hard and crumbly.  Varying scat sizes will indicate that juveniles and adults are present, while lots of droppings may indicate a large infestation.

Holes and Tears in Material

Mice will build nests in dark and isolated areas and in walls or other areas that are not often disturbed in a home.  They get materials for their nests from insulation, paper, bedding and cloth.  They will take these materials back and pile up in various out of the way and undisturbed places. If they are nesting in walls, you may see holes and gnaw marks in corners and baseboards, cabinets and drawers or furniture.  These areas will then be stuffed with shredded materials.

Teeth and Gnaw Marks

Rodents in general have teeth that never stop growing, and to keep them worn down they must chew on hard inedible materials like wood, plastic, shielding and wiring.  This behavior of chewing and gnawing on things damages structures and causes fire hazards, shorts in electrical systems, power outages and equipment damage.

Disappearing Food

An adult mouse can devour between three and four grams of food each day. Mice enjoy the same kind of food as you and I, such as grains, cereal, seeds, nuts, fruits, meats, chocolate and candy. Mice are particularly partial to high fat foods like bacon, cheese, and butter. They will visit an identified food source like a pantry or cupboard up to 30 times a day. Strange holes and tears in packaging may indicate that mice have been raiding your food.  If you think you have been sharing your food with rodents, dispose of that food as mice are known carriers of diseases and illnesses such as salmonella, hantavirus and fevers.

If you suspect that you have trouble with mice or rats give All-Natural Pest Elimination a call so we can help you get rid of your unwanted guests. Contact us at 877-662-8449 for a free inspection.