Mice can be a real problem, and if you believe everything you hear, it can make it harder to catch them and get rid of them. After all, if you have a cat, that keeps away mice and we all know mice love cheese. Right? Well, maybe not. Here are a few common myths about mice and what the truth actually is.
1. Mice only live in dirty places.
There’s nothing worse than seeing a mouse running around your nice clean home. Truth is, you’re just as likely to see them in clean places as in dirty ones. One thing mice don’t do is inspect their surroundings before they set up home.
The main reasons they will go inside any property are for:
- Food. In colder weather it may be harder for them to find food outside so they start to find ways to get inside homes to get food. If they can get in to a food cupboard, they will nibble their way in to anything they can.
- Shelter. Cold weather outside means they need somewhere to live which is warm and dry, and the inside of your property is the perfect place.
- A safe place to nest. If you have somewhere quiet and sheltered, that’s a good place for a mouse to build a nest.
You can keep your house as clean as you want, if there’s a gap where a mouse can come in, you stand just as much chance of them coming in as somewhere which isn’t so clean. It’s true that a property which isn’t so well looked after is likely to have more crumbs on the floor or have unwashed plates with food, but it doesn’t make them more prone to mice.
2. A mouse’s favorite food is cheese
Yes, mice do like cheese, but it’s not the best food to use in a trap. Mice are attracted by smells, so if they smell something nice, they will go and investigate. If you want to use cheese, use a strong smelling one so they can pick up the scent.
They love fats and proteins, but they will forage for anything they can find and if they’re hungry they’re not too fussy what they eat. If you’re looking to bait a trap there are lots of foods you can use. You need to use something with a strong smell and if it is high in fat and protein, even better. You also need to consider the style of the trap you are using. Some foods can roll off the trap if it’s knocked, and this gives the mouse a free lunch.
Some foods which work are:
- Peanut butter. This is a firm favorite of mice. The smell will attract them and the consistency means it won’t fall out of any trap.
- Bacon bits. This has a good smell to attract mice.
- Nuts and seeds. These are their natural foods so they will be drawn to them.
- Mice have a sweet tooth and like chocolate and candies.
- Pet food. Wet pet food has been tried with good results.
3. Mice have no skeleton
One very common mouse myth is that they mice have no bones or can collapse their skeleton to get through small holes.
The myth has come in to being because mice can fit through holes just a quarter of an inch big, but they don’t flatten themselves to do it. Mice are vertebrates and have a musculoskeletal system. The reason they can fit through tiny holes is actually quite simple. Mice don’t have a normal collarbone, and are extremely flexible. If they can squeeze their head through a hole, they can get their body through too.
4. See a mouse and catch it – problem solved
This is a myth many people wish were true. It can take a few attempts to catch a mouse, so the thought that there might be more can be stressful.
Unfortunately the reality is very much different. If you see one mouse, you can be certain there are others. Mice prefer to live in groups so where there’s one, there’ll be another. They also breed all year round and can breed up to 10 times a year. You may not see them all, but you can be sure they’re ready to come out and investigate when it’s quiet.
If you see or hear a mouse, then it’s time to act, and as well as catching them you need to try to prevent the problem from happening again.
- If you see a mouse, set several traps, and keep setting them until you stop catching mice.
- Seal up all holes you can find to stop them from getting in.
- Store all food in sealed containers and in sealed cupboards.
- If you have a cat, don’t rely on that to solve the problem. If you have an infestation of mice, the cat may simply not be able to cope, and if it does catch a mouse, they can pass on disease and parasites to your cat.
5. Mice only feed at night
It is true that mice are nocturnal and prefer to hunt for food at night, but they also feed constantly through the day so they are always looking for food.
It’s not unusual to see a mouse during the day, and if you do then that is a good indication that you have an infestation.
You are more likely to catch a mouse at night simply because they are more active then, but if you use humane traps, check them throughout the day too.