How to Get Rid of Mice

What are Mice?

Mouse, (plural mice), is the common name generally but imprecisely applied to rodents found throughout the world with bodies less than about 12 cm (5 inches) long. In a scientific context, mouse refers to any of the 38 species in the genus Mus, which is the Latin word for mouse. The house mouse (Mus musculus), native to Central Asia, has established itself with human populations in many other parts of the world. Within the genus there are four distinctive groups: spiny mice (subgenus Pyromys), shrew-mice (subgenus Coelomys), rice field mice and the house mouse (subgenus Mus), and African mice (subgenus Nannomys). Mice have a slender body, blunt or tapered muzzle, scantily haired, prominent ears, narrow hind feet with bald soles, and sharp, small claws. The thinly furred tail appears hairless; it may be about as long as the head and body, or it can be much shorter. Mice in their natural habitats are primarily nocturnal, although some will occasionally forage during the day. They are ground dwellers, although some species are also agile climbers and leapers as well as capable swimmers. Diet varies among species. Outdoors the house mouse consumes seeds and insects; indoors it eats nearly anything digestible. Most other species eat a combination of plant parts (especially seeds), insects, and other invertebrates.

How to Distinguish between Mice and Rats?

Mice have smaller heads and larger ears and eyes relative to the head compared with rats. Both are rodents but they have some genetic differences — rats have 21 pairs of chromosomes and mice have 20 chromosomal pairs. The animals are often identified by the size of feces. Rats tend to have a slightly longer life span compared with mice.

Best-known speciesCommon House Mouse
(Mus Musculus)
Black Rat (Rattus Rattus); Brown Rat (Rattus Norvegicus)
HeadSmall, triangularShort, stubby, broad,
EarsEars are large relative to the head.Ears are small relative to the head.
EyesSlightly bigger in relation to the headSmaller in relation to head
MuzzleNarrow with sharp muzzleBlunt with wide muzzle
TailThin and hairy tail.Thick and hairless tail.
BurrowsMice do not dig deep and even if they do so, they may dig only to about a foot.Rats dig deep and long burrows.
Lifespan1.5 – 2.5 years2-3 years
feces40-100 small feces daily20-50 larger feces daily

How to Identify Mice in My House?

While mice are tiny creatures, the clues they leave behind tend to be noticeable. Look for these sure-fire signs of a rodent infestation:

  • Chew-or scratch-marks on shelves and around food packaging. You may also notice telltale scratches on baseboards or around floor trim.
  • Food crumbs or debris on shelves, in the pantry, or unusual places – like the middle of the floor.
  • Mouse droppings, which look like small, oblong pellets. These are common in well-used mouse corridors, under sinks, in the backs of cabinets, or in the corners of rooms. Use a flashlight to spot droppings more easily.
  • Nests made of fabrics, shredded paper, pet hair, string, or other soft, shredded material.
  • Noises like scratching or squeaking in the walls at night.
  • Odd pet behavior such as barking and scratching or pawing at or under appliances. This may indicate your pets are aware of a pest infestation.

Why do you Need to Get Rid of Mice?

House mice are considered destructive and dangerous pests.


They are commonly responsible for causing damage to personal property and are notorious for commercial crop destruction. In agricultural communities, mice may also be responsible for machine and equipment malfunction. These pests are capable of causing massive losses in commercial farming enterprises, as food that has been contaminated by mice is rendered unfit for consumption. The constant chewing of mice also causes damage to electrical wires, clothing, books and furniture. They destroy storage boxes, electrical lines and other materials while building their nests.


Mice can contaminate surfaces and food sources within homes. Hantavirus is a particular threat associated with particular rodents such as deer mice. The virus is contracted with inhalation of particles released when mouse droppings, urine and saliva are disturbed. Humans who consume contaminated food may contract a number of mouse-borne diseases, including salmonellosis. Within domestic environments, food contamination may be less obvious and foods may be consumed unknowingly.

How to Trap a Mouse?

1. Find Their Patterns

Mice are active mostly between dusk and dawn, but you can spot evidence of their activity anytime. That lovely sight of mouse poop is often your first sign—each mouse drops up to 75 of the little black pellets a day!

    They move along walls and avoid open spaces, so follow where you see the mice droppings in both directions and you’ll know where they’ve been traveling. Mice gnaw at drywall and similar materials, creating clean-cut holes up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, but they can fit through any dime-size opening they find. Look for the holes and debris in the dark corners of your kitchen and laundry room.

    Check for caches of pet food and birdseed in unexpected places—behind appliances and furniture, and near other undisturbed spots in your house. Mice build nests of paper and other fibrous material in sheltered spots near constant heat, such as refrigerators, ovens, and water heaters.

2. Choose the Best Mouse Traps

The classic snap traps and modern electronic traps capture mice and make sure they’re gone for good. Snap traps are the least expensive, and they’re reusable or disposable, your choice. With an electronic mouse trap, you don’t have to see any mice or continuously check traps—an indicator light lets you know when one has been caught. If you’d prefer to get them out of your house unharmed, you can use live mouse traps that let you release them far from your home. After the pests are gone, set up Trapall manufactured rodent repellents that emit ultrasound waves you and your non-rodent pets can’t hear, but that drive mice away. If you are having trouble deciding what trap would work best for you, check out our trap guide for more information.

3. Pick Bait Wisely

    Mice are strongly attracted to high-calorie foods, such as peanut butter, hazelnut spread, and chocolate. In winter, mice build nests with materials like cotton balls, dental floss, yarn, and twine, so they work as bait too. The food that mice have been feeding on in your house, whether that’s pet kibble, birdseed, or candy, may be the best mouse trap bait. For more information on baiting, check out our mouse baiting guide.

4. Place Traps in the Best Places

    As the rodents primarily travel along walls, you want to set your mouse traps at right angles to walls, with the bait and trigger side closest to the wall. Set a trap every 2 to 3 feet along the walls where you’ve noticed evidence of mice activity. Wear protective gloves when handling mouse traps and bait to keep mice off your scent. (If they sniff out your presence, they may avoid the trap.)

    The very best spots for mouse traps are in enclosed spaces, inside cabinets and closets, and beneath or behind furniture and appliances. Around your range or oven is a favorite haunt for mice, because there’s a steady supply of warmth and tiny bits of food. If there’s a drawer for storing pans beneath your oven, set a mouse trap inside it.

5. Check and Reset

    Look in on your mouse traps the first morning after you set them, and every morning after. Studies show you are likely to catch more mice on the first night you set out traps than on any subsequent night. Be sure to set a lot of mouse traps from the start, so you can capture as many as possible quickly.

Mice reproduce so fast and abundantly, you are certain to have more than one in your home at a time. So, don’t quit after you’ve caught one. Keep setting and checking mouse traps until you haven’t caught a mouse for a week.

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  1. Wikipedia contributors. (2021, December 27). Mouse. Wikipedia. Retrieved December 29, 2021, from
  2. Wikipedia contributors. (2021b, December 29). House mouse. Wikipedia. Retrieved December 29, 2021, from
  3. 3. Musser, G. (2021, June 17). mouse. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved December 29, 2021, from
  4. Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2020, February 19). house mouse. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved December 29, 2021,
  5. Ades, E. (2015, October 27). Species Specific Information: Mouse. The Johns Hopkins University. Retrieved December 31, 2021, from
  6. Jacoby, R., Fox, J., & Davisson, M. (2007, September 2). Biology and Diseases of Mice. NCBI. Retrieved December 31, 2021, from

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