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Mouse Facts

The house mouse is remarkably well-adapted for living year-round in homes, food establishments and other structures. Homeowners are especially likely to notice mice during winter, following their fall migration indoors in search of warmth, food and shelter. Once mice become established inside a home, they can be extremely difficult to control.



Why Get Rid of Mice?

Although most people consider mice less objectionable than rats, mice are more common and cause significantly more damage. Mice are prolific breeders, producing six to ten litters continuously throughout the year. The greatest economic loss from mice is not due to how much they eat, but what must be thrown out because of damage or contamination. Food, clothing, furniture, books and many other household items are contaminated by their droppings and urine, or damaged by their gnawing.

House mice gnaw through electrical wiring causing fires and failure of freezers, clothes dryers and other appliances. Mice also can transmit diseases, most notably salmonellosis (bacterial food poisoning) when food is contaminated with infected rodent feces. Other diseases include rickettsialpox, lymphocytic choriomenigitis, leptospirisis, ratbite fever, tularemia, Lyme disease and dermatitis caused by the bites of mites from the mice. Hantavirus (pulmonary syndrome) is another danger becoming more common.

Behavior and Feeding Habits

Mice are nocturnal creatures and are rarely seen by the homeowner. The most obvious indicators of their presence are droppings (1/8 to 1/4 inches long, dark and pointed at both ends), sounds of them running, gnawing or squeaking, or damage to stored food or materials for nesting. Mice are highly curious and explore their territory daily, paying special attention to new items or physical changes in their home range. Unlike rats, mice show no aversion to new objects.

Compared to rats, mice forage only short distances from their nest, usually not more than 10 to 25 feet. When food and shelter are adequate, their foraging range may be only a few feet. For this reason, traps and other control devices must be placed in areas where mouse activity is most apparent. Mice prefer to travel adjacent to walls and other edges, which is another critical point to remember when positioning control devices.

Mice seem to prefer cereal grains and seeds in their feeding. They are sporadic in their feeding, particularly when there are many food sources available. In these situations, mice may make 20 to 30 visits to different food sites each night. Sites may vary from night to night, but certain sites where the mouse feels safe are nightly favorites. 

Signs of Mice

Mouse Droppings

Mice leave droppings everywhere they go. Approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length, fresh droppings are dark in color and soft in texture. As they age, droppings become hard and brittle.

Following the Trail

A house mouse travels the same runway time and time again, leaving a smudge mark - a buildup of dirt and oil from their fur - along walls, pipes and holes. Footprints and tail drags can sometimes be seen in dusty locations. Non-toxic tracking dust such as talc or flour has proven helpful in determining the presence and location of mice.

Tiny, Uneven Chew Marks

Mice can chew through anything that is softer than their teeth, so gnaw marks are a sure sign of mice. On wood, the darker the wood, the older the gnaw marks are.

Pet Behavior

If your dog or cat unexplainably gets excited, it is more than likely that mice are moving about. The sound of mice gnawing, squeaking, or running through the walls or ceiling is occasionally the only sign of their presence.

Finding Nest Scraps

Favorite nesting materials of the house mouse are shredded paper, insulation material and string are often found in attics and garages.


If humans are present to provide warmth and food, mice can survive almost anywhere. In fact, colonies of mice have been found thriving amidst the supplies used on polar expeditions.

Each year, rodents cause more than one billion dollars in damage in the United States alone.

Mice can jump down 12 feet without injury, jump 12 inches vertically and scale rough vertical services.

The odor of mice is quite distinct. An experienced pest control specialist can tell the difference between rat and mouse odors.

Because mouse urine has a fluorescent glow, a blacklight can be useful in determining the presence of mice.


Available from Kness

Ketch-All® Multiple Catch Mousetrap Product Ketch-All® Multiple Catch Mousetrap

The Ketch-All® needs no bait and catches multiple mice in one setting. The trap is properly set with 4 to 6 full (360°) turns.

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Available from Kness

Snap-E® Cover Product Snap-E® Cover

Snap-E® Covers keep traps and catch out of sight, keeping children and pets away from rodents and traps.

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Available from Kness

Snap-E® Mousetrap Product Snap-E® Mousetrap

Snap-E® mousetraps are escape proof and the innovative design ensures you'll never touch another mouse.

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Available from Kness

Stick-All® Mouse & Insect Trap Products Stick-All® Mouse & Insect Trap

The ultimate glue trap for pest control. Attracts, monitors and catches multiple mice and insects.

View Stick-All® Mouse & Insects Traps

Available from Kness

Stick-All® Glue Trap Products Stick-All® Glue Trap

Ultimate in glue trap for pest control. Attracts, monitors and catches multiple mice and insects.

View Stick-All® Glue Traps