This publication explains how to tell if you have more than one mouse in your home or workspace. You found one mouse may not mean there are more. However, you need to confirm certain factors to determine if you have an infestation.
Do you hear a rustling sound on your wall? Darting, groveling, or scraping sounds at night could also be a sign of a mouse in your home or workspace. Sometimes, it does not matter if you hear just noises or saw a mouse—you may want to get in touch with a pest control professional to determine if it is an infestation or just one mouse lurking around.
Before then, you may be able to tell the signs yourself—this article covers the basic things to look for to know if there’s more than one mouse around.
Why is there a mouse in my house?
Mice are homeothermic, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This means that “their core temperature is regulated at a constant level over a relatively wide range of ambient temperatures”.
You have a mouse in your home or workspace because they found an opening, which led them in. Mice merely need an opening the size of your thumb to gain entry. They can squeeze themselves through these tiny openings or any available space.
Since only a tiny space is required, they can squeeze themselves through your foundations, ventilation stacks, or sidings to access your house.
When they gain entry into your home, mice search for food and if they find any, they nest around. They feature sharp teeth that can easily tear through packaging.
Signs of a single mouse
It’s not very common to find only a single mouse in your home. A mouse can breed every 20 days and one reason why they settle in your home is to prepare for their litter.
Below are some signs that you may have just one mouse looking nesting in your home:
- You saw a mouse during the day.
- You sighted a mouse after an unexpected cold break.
- A little amount of mouse evidence such as feces, urine, and saliva.
- Fewer trails or footprints.
A single mouse may be running away from cold weather or a predator. In situations like this, you might find it in high-traffic areas in the daytime. If you don’t see any other activities, you may have only one mouse in your house.
It is still necessary to contact a pest control agency to inspect since one mouse in your home could eventually breed and multiply into an infestation.
How to tell if you have more than one mouse
It’s most likely that you’re late. Seeing one mouse could mean about 5-6 others are hiding in walls, basement, or attic.
This is mostly the case if you find a mouse at night or in areas with less activity in your home. Use the following signs to tell if you have more than one mouse:
1. Scratching or rustling
Scratching or rustling noises on walls can indicate a mouse infestation. Even without physical evidence like mouse droppings, scratching, or rustling on your walls, typically in the night or evening is a sign that you have more than one mouse in your home. Trust the instinct of your pet if it starts staring, barking, or growling at walls.
Mice can squeeze themselves through the tiniest holes to get into shelter and make no sound. An adolescent mouse can fit its body through a hole that is as wide as a pen. If the hole is not big enough, the mouse will use its teeth to widen the hole. And according to a report by Anticimex, a mouse can get through a small, 6-7 mm hole (about the diameter of a normal-sized pen).
2. Numerous mouse droppings
A home with a mouse infestation is likely to have numerous mouse droppings, compared to a few by one mouse. These droppings are usually found in many places:
- Close to mice nest,
- Near their food sources, and
- Common paths near the food source or their nests.
Mice droppings are typically small and similar to a grain of rice, ranging in size from 3/16 to 1/4 inch in length. You can tell fresh mice droppings by the color—they tend to be darker and shinier. However, older droppings look chalky and dry. Rat droppings are similar in shape but larger, typically 1/2 to 3/4-inch in length with blunt ends.
They carry diseases such as hantavirus or listeria, so it is, therefore, necessary to get rid of them as quickly as possible and address your mouse infestation immediately.
3. Mouse nest
Mice use anything they can find to make their nest. They’re not only very good at hiding from predators, but they can also eat cockroaches, many building materials like drywall, power lines, rubber, and insulation.
If you inspect your house properly, specifically places like your garages, basements, crawl spaces, and attics and you don’t find any mouse nests, it could mean that a mouse hasn’t been there long enough to nest.
Mice build their nest with materials like paper, cardboard, insulation, and other materials that are not tough. Mouse excrements, food particles, and urine can make finding their nest easier.
Mice love to hide in areas that are safe from predators, for example, a cat in your home, dry and warm places, and places where it is easier to collect nesting materials and easily access food.
4. A live mouse in low-traffic areas
If you spot a mouse at night or in a low-traffic area, that’s a sign that there could be more lurking around.
Mice are only active at night and in quiet places because they are nocturnal. They hide in homes where the chance of getting harmed by a predator is less.
With a short gestation period of just about 3 weeks, one mouse can give birth to 5-6 babies. A typical female mouse can birth between 5 and 10 liters per year. Thus, one female mouse in your home can reproduce at least 50 babies in 6 months.
If you suspect a mouse in your attics, crawl spaces, or walls, look for physical evidence (saliva, feces, etc.) around the area to confirm your suspicion.
5. Unusual noises
If you have more than one mouse in your home or workforce, you may not hear any noise. However, you’ll hear noises if you have many.
Since mice are mostly active at night, you want to pay close attention to suspicious areas at the end of the day. You may hear them moving around, scratching, or squeaking. You might be able to spot 1 or 2 mice running around. If you don’t spot them, your pet may.
6. Stale odors
Mice have a musky ammonia smell like stale urine. When their urine, saliva, and feces build up, you perceive a musky odor.
It’s not just mice feces and urine that smell but also a combination of their droppings, as well as their nest materials. Mouse urine will make confined areas, including your cabinets and pantries have an ammonia smell.
If your fans and ventilation won’t get rid of any stale odors, a mouse infestation is the cause.
7. Tail trails and footprints
To tell if you have more than one mouse, pour any powdery substance available in the areas where you suspect or saw a mouse. If a mouse or mice step on the power, they’d be leaving prints and trails on it. The more prints and trails you get, the likelier the chance that you have more than one mouse lurking around. Note that one mouse can also cross the powder multiple times.
In this case, study the print closely to see if you can identify larger and smaller prints or trails. This would mean you have more than one mouse around.
You could also use a flashlight to check for footprints or tail trails around dusty areas on your baseboards. There’s a high chance that you’ll find the footprints of mice along the baseboards since they like running there. If you trace the route, you might be able to locate their nest.
Why contact a professional pest exterminator?
Solutions like poisons may be swallowed by your pets. Thus, they are not very advisable.
You’re not likely to catch all the mice—they are quite clever. A mouse, for instance, will get trapped, but others will avoid the trap and probably even relocate to safer spots to nest and continue scavenging your property.
Moreover, mice are flea and disease-carrying, pesky creatures. They will scratch, bite and do anything to defend themselves in distress. Vacuuming mice droppings, for instance, exposes you to the risk of hantavirus.
With a professional team, mice will be repelled or eliminated from your home with humane, regulated tools. You don’t also get to worry about your pets swallowing poisons meant for mice.
Mice often come back. If you have a hole, these rodents may still enter your home again. A professional will ensure to detect and block openings, cracks, or crevices to keep them away for a long time. How long mice stay away will depend on you, including whether you leave the doors leading to the interior open or have broken pipes they can follow inside your home.
Get in touch with a professional agency, schedule an inspection and confidently find out if you have more than one mouse.