How many rats/mice are in my house?

You might catch a rodent wandering around your house, successfully get rid of it and think you’re in the clear but this isn’t the case. I looked it up and found some shocking information.

You might be inclined to think that because your house is clean and has no clutter rodents or other pests won’t have a reason to enter your house. Alas rodents are not only attracted to the garbage and dirt but any source of shelter, food and water left around your house.

They have natural predators such as cats, snakes, coyotes and predatory birds. All of which all have rats and mice as a favorite and sought after meal. Rodents are always in search of a good hiding place to avoid their predators. They need do this to be able to live. Thus they are particularly cautious and they need to live in secluded hard to find spaces. In the wild is takes the form of  underground burrows, in your house it’s in crawl spaces.

 Is it a mouse or rat?

The word mice and rat are usually interchanged. They do seem similar but the size difference is a good way to tell them apart.

Mice are smaller than rats, the body, including the tail, of an adult mouse is around 3-4 inches

Rats are much longer in length and are bigger in size. Their tail length varies, the overall length of a rat is around 11 inches long

What attracts rodents to my house?

Rodents in the natural world are omnivores, this means they eat both animals and plants. Although they can eat anything they prefer to eat grains, fruits and seeds. When they are in dire need of food they can eat anything. This diet can cause damage to the inside of your house and your crops in your domestic garden.

Popular tv show rodents attracted to cheese but this isn’t the case. They can be attracted to anything sweet and are particularly attracted to foods rich in carbohydrates and surprisingly they are also interested in chocolate. Yet as we know they’re indiscriminate towards food. They even go so far as going to the trash in search of food

If you have a crop garden then even the plants that rodents do not eat can become damaged. This is as a result of contamination from the saliva, droppings and urine. These droppings are very dangerous and can cause a variety of illnesses in humans.

They have been known to show cannibalistic behaviors if they are starving. They go for the weakest first, mothers sometimes consuming her offspring. Larger rodents can be seen going for smaller weaker ones but this is only done in stress and distressed conditions.

Signs of an infestation

  • Rodents are nocturnal so you might hear their little feet running across your ceiling boards or floor boards during night time. You might also hear high pitched squeaking sounds from them as they communicate with each other. You can also hear the squeaking at the nighttime, read more about it here.
  • Grease marks along your floors from where they might have been. If you have a black light you can search for trails of their urine.
  • If you find the remains of chewed up electrical wiring, paper, cardboard boxes or other household items with small bite marks then this could be result of a rodent infestation. You will see the infestation from tiny bites on plastic or furniture as well
  • Rodent droppings which are small dark ovoid shaped bits of hard material can be an indication of an infestation. They look like black rice.
  • If you can’t see them you could probably smell the musky odor that they emit
  • Another sign can be the destruction of soft things in your house such as insulation, blankets, electric wiring. This occurs as a result of them trying to find objects to create a nest in your house   

Are there more rats?

Because rodents are nocturnal you probably won’t see the infestation at all as they are active after sunset and before sunrise. This is because their eyes are sensitive and they do not like bright lights.

If you do see a mouse during the day it’s probably because they’re looking for food or have been disturbed. If you see a couple during the day this can be an indication of a large infestation. This is because when their populations increase they force some members out of the nest. The smaller weaker and less equipped ones are forced out into the open.

Female rodents have the ability to give birth to about 10 mice per litter. Their gestation period is not long as litters can be born within 20 days after mating. These children are capable of reproduction after 2 months. This is why the infestations increase rapidly and it is necessary to deal with the infestation as soon as possible

Preventing them

Prevent rodents from getting into your house by clogging up your rodent sized entry points with steel mesh, sealant or caulking.

You might want to allow cats to enter your property as cats are natural predators of rodents, allow the cats to lounge indoors and the outdoors for an all-round deterrent. Predator urine works well as well, this is an effective predator urine spray. These predator urine granules are effective as well.

Mice and rats will be repelled by ammonia which is in mothballs. The reason for this is because ammonia is present in urine. Mothballs make it seem as though there is a predator in the area which will scare them away. These mothballs have a protective wrap over them, they won’t touch your skin as you see them.

Mint is also a good natural repellent to use against rodents. Sprinkle it all over current and possible future mouse nesting sites. You can do this with bay leaves as well. This will prevent them from entering your home

Be sure to keep your house clean and tidy. Seal your food items in airtight containers, seal your garbage and put them into containers where rodents cannot scratch or bite into. Mint fragranced trash bags like these will repel rodents.

Be sure to fix up any leaking or dripping drains in your house to prevent them for coming for the water.

Dealing with infestation

There are many ways to deal with a rodent infestation, these can range from pest control methods, mouse proofing and rodecide to get rid of them.

If you prefer a natural way to get rid of them you might want to use peppermint oil. Mice and rats hate the smell of peppermint oil. Apply some peppermint oil on some cotton pads and leave them where they frequent. They will be repelled and leave. This bulk peppermint oil will cover your whole house.

You can use traps to catch rodents, either humane or traditional options to catch them.  A good bait to use is peanut butter or chocolate. These humane and traditional traps are very effective.

We recommend that you get a professional to deal with the issue as you might not be able to find all the rodent nests or understand the level of infestation in your house. The professionals will accurately find and get rid of them.

After you’ve gotten rid of your infestation be sure to prevent them from coming back by sealing up their entry points into your house, making sure you always clean and tidy up after yourself and making sure all food (including pet food) is stored away properly.

Rats can be very beneficial and this article explains how.

If you enjoyed this article, found it helpful or think someone else would find it interesting please share it. I would really appreciate it.

How many rats/mice are in my house?
Scroll to top