It’s estimated that around 21 million homes in America experience a rodent invasion every winter.
After mice get into your home, they can create a bunch of problems. Mice can spread diseases, build nests, damage your walls and property, and also contaminate your food.
When you notice a mouse in your home, it’s important that you take care of the issue as soon as possible before it gets worst. Identifying mouse droppings is usually the first step in realizing that you have a problem on your hands. However, it’s not always easy to know exactly what a mouse dropping looks like.
Failing to recognize a mouse dropping can mean that the rodents will have more time to take up residence in your home. Luckily for you, we’re here to help.
What Do Mouse Droppings Look Like?
First off, it’s important to understand that “mouse droppings” refers to mouse poop. It is also sometimes referred to as “mice rice.” Mouse droppings can bear diseases, including Hantavirus and salmonella.
Because of this, it’s important that you clean up mouse droppings as soon as you see them. We’ll get to how to clean up mouse droppings a little later.
When it comes to identifying mouse droppings, you should know that their droppings tend to range in size from 3/16 of an inch to 1/4 inch long. Its shape tends to resemble a grain of rice. The ends of the droppings are pointed and the color tends to vary from gray to blackish brown, depending on how old the droppings are and what the mouse ate.
A fresh dropping is going to be black. Over the next week, it will turn brown. From there, it’s going to become closer to gray.
If a mouse ate pesticide from a bait station, then the droppings will likely be the same color as the bait.
A dropping that’s older will break apart upon contact while a fresh one will be malleable and soft. Also, you should know to never touch a mouse dropping with your bare hands.
Mice can leave behind fifty to seventy droppings each day. The size and number of the pellets you see will help you figure out the type and severity of the rodent problem that you have on your hands.
Mice tend to make droppings while they’re moving. So their poop will be seen along the path that they travel. You’ll also find droppings in the areas where they’re getting their food.
A mouse might also make dropping near its nest. However, mice actually like to keep their homes clean, so they won’t poop in their actual nests.
Do Mouse Droppings Smell?
Mouse droppings typically don’t have a smell that’s noticeable. However, their urine does tend to smell distinctly like ammonia.
It’s worth knowing that mice don’t have great eyesight but they do have a powerful sense of smell. This means that they can use the scents left behind by rodent waste to know where things are. For example, certain scents can let them know what areas to avoid and which ones are good sources of food.
You shouldn’t rely on smell to find mouse droppings. However, you can use your sense of smell to detect their urine.
What Do Rat Droppings Look Like?
Realizing that there are droppings in your home is a good way to know that you have a pest problem. However, you also have to be able to differentiate the different kinds of droppings so you can tell which kind of pest you’re dealing with.
For example, when you find droppings in your home, you might be dealing with house mice, roof rats, deer mice, Norway rats, and even raccoons or squirrels.
As we mentioned earlier, a mouse dropping tends to be no more than 1/4 inch in length. It’s also similar in shape and size to a grain of rice.
A rat dropping is usually the same kind of shape but it’s bigger. Rat droppings tend to be around 1/2 inch in size.
A single rat tends to leave around thirty to fifty droppings per day.
How to Get Rid of Mouse Droppings
After you’ve identified the mouse droppings, you’re going to want to get rid of them as soon as possible. Not only are the droppings unsightly, but they can also spread disease.
When cleaning up mouse droppings, you’ll need to follow certain safety precautions both before and during clean up.
Before you start cleaning, you want to trap the mice and seal up any entryways. This will make certain that no more mice can get in. You want to continue trapping rodents for one week.
In no rodents are captured, then you can assume that the active infestation has been taken care of. Also, enough time should have passed that any infectious virus in the mice’s droppings/urine is no longer infectious.
Before you start cleaning the area, you want to ventilate it by opening the windows and doors. Do this for at least thirty minutes in order to let fresh air come into the area. You should use cross-ventilation and then leave the space during this airing-out time.
When you start to clean, it’s important that you don’t stir up any dust by vacuuming or sweeping the nesting materials, urine, or droppings.
You should wear vinyl, rubber, or latex gloves when you clean droppings and urine.
First, spray the droppings and urine with a disinfectant. You can also use a mixture of water and bleach and let it soak for five minutes.
For the bleach solution, it’s recommended that you use ten parts water to one part bleach. If you’re using a commercial disinfectant, then you should follow the instructions on the packaging for disinfection time and dilution.
You should then use a paper towel to pick up the droppings and urine. Then, dispose of the waste in the trash.
After the mouse urine and droppings have been taken care of, you should disinfect the items that might have been in contact with the mice or their droppings and urine.
Clean the Whole Area
After you’ve taken care of the urine and droppings, it’s time to clean the whole area. First, you should mop the floors and clean the countertops with a bleach solution or disinfectant. Then, shampoo or steam clean upholstered furniture and carpets that you think were exposed to the rodents.
You also want to wash any clothes or bedding with laundry detergent in hot water if they were exposed to mouse droppings or urine.
Lastly, take off your gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with water and soap. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap isn’t nearby.
Dead Rodents or Nests
If you come upon nests or dead rodents, you should wear gloves made of vinyl, latex, or rubber. First, you want to spray the nest or dead rodent and the surrounding area with a mixture of bleach and water or with a disinfectant.
Then, let the nesting materials or dead rodent soak in the solution for five minutes. After the time is up, wipe up the materials with a rag or paper towel.
Put the nesting materials or dead rodent in a plastic bag and seal it tightly. Place that bag in a second bag and then seal it tightly as well.
Finally, throw the bag into a covered garbage can that’s emptied regularly. Then, remove your gloves and wash your hands.
Diseases from Mouse Droppings
The two main diseases from mouse droppings are Hantavirus and Salmonella. Hantavirus is an infectious disease that can cause flu-like symptoms. It can eventually progress into life-threatening breathing problems.
The primary way of contracting Hantavirus is through inhalation. You can breathe in the virus from mouse droppings or urine. This is why it’s so important to not sweep up mouse droppings because you can kick the virus into the air.
You can contract salmonella when you consume food that’s been contaminated by mouse droppings.
The Importance of Knowing How to Identify Mouse Droppings
As we can see, when you can identify mouse droppings, you can more quickly recognize that you have a rodent problem and thus correct the issue. If you feel that your rodent problem is getting out of hand, then you shouldn’t hesitate to contact a professional exterminator.
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