Mice Eating Poison But Not Dying? Find Out Why!

When it comes to any given mouse problem, mouse poison is one of the most common and effective pest control repellents on the market.

However, because there are many types of poison and many species of mice, there is a lot to know about using poisons as a rodent control method.

Hopefully this article answers many of your unanswered clarifications questions and provides you with the necessary information to safely kill mice using mouse or rat poison.

Why are the mice eating the poison but not dying?

While mouse poison is often considered to be an extremely effective pest control method, sometimes it fails at its job, and it’s important to know why.

First, it’s important to try to understand exactly what’s happening in your current situation. What I mean by this is that you really need to be aware of changes in your home and environment when you put out poison. When you put out a box of mouse poison, you should check on it frequently to see if mice have been eating it. Once you notice that poison has definitely been taken from the box, now you have to ask yourself this: is this poison actually killing the mice?

This particularly question is the one that many people struggle to answer. Why? Put simply, when mice eat poison and die from it, you may never find their bodies, and thus may not immediately know that they have died. This is unlike other popular pest control methods, such as a snap trap or a traditional trap with bait, and it ultimately can cause frustration and confusion in many people.

So again, instead of being able to immediately identify the victims, you need to rely on sudden changes in your home to determine the effectiveness of the poison. For example, if you start noticing an awful smell in your home but can’t pinpoint it, it could very well be a dead mouse decaying behind your walls or in your ceiling. Or, if you have other types of traps currently in your home that have been effective recently, keep a close out on them. If your other traps suddenly stop catching lots of mice, it could be a sign that the poison is working.

All of this information is important because before I discuss why your mice may actually not be dying from poison, you must be aware that the poison could be working and you may just not be able to tell yet.

Okay—so what if your mice are really not dying from the poison? There are three main explanations.

First, rather than eating the poison, the mice could be taking the poison back to the nest and hoarding it. Because you will notice that poison is disappearing from the box, this gives off the illusion that mice are eating it, when actually they are just collecting it. This type of behavior is most common in deer mice and NOT house mice. This is because deer mice are burrowing animals and rely on a stockpile of food that they keep in their nest, whereas house mice are opportunists that will immediately eat what they can find.

The second explanation is that you may need to wait a few more days because it takes 4-6 days for mice to die from most commercial poisons. Therefore, if you notice one day that some poison is missing from the box and think that the mice aren’t dying from it, just give it a couple of more days for the poison to work.

The third reason why your mice may not be dying from poison is that they may be immune. This is by far the less common explanation, but nonetheless, there are certain new species of mice in certain parts of the world that have developed resistance to the common types of mouse poison.

Do mice go outside to die after eating poison?

Yes, mice can go outside to die after eating poison, but there is nothing about poison that makes mice go outside to die once they eat it. Therefore, if mice go outside to die once they eat poison, it’s by chance.

It can also be said that if you have house mice, it would actually be pretty rare for them to go outside to die after eating poison because once nested and comfortable in your home, house mice won’t generally go outside at all for anything.

Of course, there are exceptions, so do not worry if you find a dead mouse outside your home that looks to have been killed by poison. Those are typically uncommon occurrences and should not be a cause for concern.

How long does it take for mice to die after eating poison?

There are many types of poison to kill mice, including store-bought and homemade, and they all work in slightly different ways. However, the most common type of poison is a single feed anticoagulant rodenticide—rodenticides are the most popular and effective mouse poisons commercially available and an anticoagulant is simply a type of blood thinner.

There are also many different types and brands names of single feed anticoagulant poisons, but they all usually take 4-6 days to kill mice once they ingest the lethal dose.

Do mice become immune to poison?

Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, some kinds of mice have become immune to some of the types of commercially available rat and mouse poison.

Scientists have identified some species of house mice in Europe that have developed resistance to commercial poisons. More specifically, they say that German and Spanish house mice developed this immunity by breeding with Algerian species of mice. Warfarin, one of the most common and strongest types of single feed anticoagulant rodenticides is one of the poisons that these new breeds of mice are resistant to.

While this may be concerning news, particularly to someone with a mouse problem living in Europe, these new breeds of mice are not immune to all types of poison. Therefore, there are many other effective and strong commercially available poisons that will do the job. For example, bromodialone and brodificoum are two examples of single feed rodenticides that work against warfarin-resistant rats and mice.

Also, just because there are new breeds of mice that have developed resistance to some poisons, you do not have to worry about your mice suddenly developing resistance. The free species that developed immunity did so over the course of many years and by cross breading with other mouse species. Therefor, your typical family of house mice will not suddenly become immune to your poison.

Do mice take poison back to the nest?

Yes, mice can take poison back to the nest, although this behavior is most common in deer mice, not house mice.

Deer mice typically gather and store their food, such as stolen crumbs, seeds, and poison, while a house mouse typically does not. House mice generally eat whatever they can find as soon as they find it.

This is important to note because if you do have deer mice, the best way for you to get rid of your mice may not involve using a mouse poison, and but instead may involve using a bunch of snap traps or other kinds of traditional mouse traps. If you do try to use a mouse poison, a deer mouse will most likely gather as much of it as he can and bring it back to his nest, essentially wasting most, if not all, of the box of poison that you put out.

It’s also crucial to be very cautious of putting out mouse poison if you have children and pets. If you have a dog, for example, and don’t properly hide the poison, poison may be missing from the box because the dog is eating it and not because mice are taking it back to the nest.

How to clean up a dead mouse in the house?

Whether you kill mice using mouse poison, snap traps, or other kinds of traps, make sure that you clean up the crime scenes safely and thoroughly.

Any time you are going to be handling a dead mouse, make sure to always wear protective gloves, a respirator, and protective eyewear to protect yourself from catching any of the many possible diseases and illnesses that mice can carry. Also make sure that you dispose of the dead mice properly.

If you kill mice using a mouse poison, DO NOT toss the dead mouse outside in the woods or an open field. Dead mice are juicy prey for many birds of prey, snakes, and other small mammals, and if a bird or fox eats a mouse that was killed by poison, the poison that remains inside of the dead mouse can kill the other animal, too. Instead, get rid of the dead mouse by putting it in two plastic bags and then putting the bags in the trash.

To get rid of mice killed by snap traps or other traps that use baits, such as peanut butter, you can double bag them and throw them in the trash OR you can throw them outside in the woods or open field in a non intrusive way. Since snap traps don’t involve poison, a mouse killed by a snap trap can then be safely eaten by other animals.

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