You may have noticed some nibbled belongings, food strewn around your pantry for no reason, or a whiff of a smell that betrays the presence of “little intruders”. But what makes the diagnosis certain is when you get mouse droppings.
Mouse droppings should not be taken lightly, as they can be harmful to your health, especially if you encounter them. If this happens, you are likely to contract diseases such as haemorrhagic fever, hantavirus, or lymphocytic chorio-meningitis.
When you find evidence of mouse or rat droppings, it is important to be well-informed so that the pest control is effective eliminating the infestation. But to get an in-depth understanding of how to deal with mouse droppings, here are some basics.
What do mouse droppings look like?
These small droppings are 3 to 6 millimetres long, granular and black. They are easy to distinguish, as they are smaller than a grain of rice. They also look a bit bent, and you find them arranged in clusters in mice nests.
Furthermore, they are considerably smaller than rat droppings. However, rat droppings present the same risks, so they should be handled with care during any cleaning day.
Another characteristic of mouse droppings is that new droppings are darker than old ones and are often distributed in several places.
Comparison between mouse and rat droppings
Rats and mice are rodents that are similar in appearance but different, so the dimensions of their droppings are linked to this. Mouse droppings are half the size of rat droppings and are different in texture.
Mouse droppings look crunchy compared to rat droppings, which are sausage-shaped and look wetter and softer. The latter can be found in large clusters.
From this, it can be understood that mice defecate more frequently, producing enough brown waste, unlike rats, which do the opposite.
What if there are mice, but no faeces?
This translates into a ‘good thing’, as you probably only have one mouse and not a whole family. If you are even luckier, you may have spotted a random mouse that was wandering around your house but decided not to stay.
If there is construction going on where you live, such as extensive sewer construction or pavement work, it is very likely that mice will wander into your home just because they are running away from the noise generated by these activities.
To make yourself safer from mice, we suggest that you set mousetraps, and be alert to any signs of infestation, such as torn paper, faeces, and unusual sounds. If you trap a mouse, be careful not to grab it, as it may bite you.
Although mouse bites are not too painful, they are likely to transmit disease, so be cautious.
Diseases transmitted by mouse droppings.
Mouse droppings are harmful whenever a person encounters them. They transmit several diseases, and the health risks of mouse droppings are well researched and documented worldwide.
The following diseases are contracted from mouse droppings:
Hantavirus is considered one of the most common diseases associated with mouse faeces. It is a respiratory disease contracted after touching their droppings and urine.
Humans can also become infected with this disease the moment they inhale dust that has touched the droppings.
This is a viral infection transmitted by mice, specifically after handling mouse faeces and urine, and is contracted in a manner like hantavirus. It is common in the winter months and causes severe neurological disorders in humans.
Where should I look for mouse faeces?
The places to look for droppings are the same places where mice feed, such as cupboards and storage areas in the kitchen.
Mice often take advantage of these places as they provide a good nesting area. Therefore, if you diagnose dark particles in these spaces, you should know that you have been harbouring mice for some time, so act quickly and assertively.
Here are some places where you may find mouse droppings:
- On the top and inside of cupboards.
- Skirting boards
- On the back of furniture
- Underneath electrical appliances.
- Inside drawers
- In the garage or other storage areas
- Near electricity cables
- In the garden.
What to do if I get mouse droppings?
If you pick up mouse droppings in different places in your home, avoid touching them with bare hands. Always wear protection, such as rubber gloves, to reduce the chances of catching diseases from the droppings.
Here are the steps you should take when removing mouse droppings:
- The moment you find mouse droppings, do not clean them up immediately (either with a broom or hoover) as you may increase the chances of picking up any dust and contracting diseases.
- Do not touch mouse droppings with your bare hand.
- When you find mouse or rat droppings, allow air to pass into the room where you found them. Open all windows to allow fresh air in and reduce the chances of breathing in infectious agents.
- When it is time to pick up the mouse droppings, place all waste in a zip-top bag and dispose of it in a rubbish bin outside your home.
- It is advisable to carry out these droppings clean-up after the mouse infestation has been exterminated, as this activity does not represent a significant effort to eliminate the infestation.