There are holes in the food boxes in your pantry. You hear scratching in the walls throughout the night. You’re in denial until one night you see it—a mouse. Horrified, you start to wonder about how you can keep these creatures away. Are there any creatures around your property that eat mice? For example, do squirrels eat mice?
While a squirrel will eat a mouse, it would prefer not to. Like all other animals, squirrels require protein, carbs and fat in their diet. While they would prefer to get these nutrients from nuts, leaves, mushrooms, roots, seeds and insects, they’ll eat from a larger menu when the going gets tough. So, if the squirrel on your property is faced with starving to death or eating the mice in your attic, they’ll decide on the latter.
What this means for you is that squirrels are not going to be an effective method of rodent control. Also, many homeowners find that having too many squirrels on your property can lead to other issues—many, ironically, that are similar to the headaches you can experience when you have mice or rats on your property. These problems can include damaged wood, chewed electrical wiring, spreading disease and introducing other insect pests.
If squirrels aren’t an effective way to control your resident mouse population, you’re probably wondering if there are any other animals that could help, or if there are any other home remedies you could test out before calling in a rodent control professional. We’ll answer all of your questions, starting with other animals that eat mice.
Do Owls Eat Mice?
While a mouse is not a preferred meal for a squirrel, owls love to swoop down on mice and have them for a meal. Barn owls, in particular, prefer mice, and experts believe that they eat almost 80 pounds of mice each year! Despite what its name might suggest, barn owls are found in cities as well as more rural areas. While this is a significant amount of mice, it’s important to remember that one female mouse can lay up to sixty babies in that same time span. Therefore, in order to keep the mouse population on your property at a minimum, you would need to have many, many owls.
Also, keep in mind that while owls will be outside, mice often make their way indoors as they seek food and refuge. Owls will not enter your home on the search for mice so they’re really only good for rodent control if you’ve been noticing mice around your shed, deck or garden.
Yet another consideration is that not all owls like to eat mice. There are many different types of owls, and while they are all carnivores, they tend to eat whatever prey is around.
With owls somewhat out of the picture, you may be wondering what other animals you can use to your advantage to handle your mouse problems.
Other Mouse Predators
It’s no wonder we don’t want to share our homes with mice. These creatures will eat any food we might have, contaminating up to 10 times what they can consume because of their droppings, urine and hair. Capable of transmitting a number of diseases to our families and pets, including typhus, ratbite fever and bacterial food poisoning, mice even bite sleeping children. Worse still, since rodents need to chew continually to keep their growing teeth in check, these creatures can start fires by chewing through electrical wiring and gnawing on matches.
The most effective way to control rodents on your property is to prevent them from getting into your home in the first place. Rodent proofing measures can include adding steel mesh around any openings around your home’s exterior. Keep in mind that a mouse can squeeze through a hole as small as a quarter-inch wide, so any place you can poke a pencil can be an entry point for one of these rodents. Doors, windows, ventilation holes, exhaust fans and eave vents and areas where pipes enter buildings are all potential avenues for these creatures to come into your home. Keeping garbage, pet food and any food waste in tightly-sealed containers and cleaning up food and water can also help. Traps can remove animals that have made their way into your attic, crawl spaces and other hard to access areas on your property and should be set in conjunction with closing access points.
If you are determined to enlist other animals to aid you in these efforts, you should know that there are many other animals besides squirrels and owls that may enjoy a mouse for a meal. Some of them might even surprise you.
The following creatures have been known to chow down on a mouse if given the opportunity:
- Large lizards
Unfortunately, many of these creatures will only help you if you have rodents roaming around outside of your home. Plus, the average homeowner isn’t keen on having snakes and some of these other types of larger animals hanging around. And as we have already mentioned, if you have mice and snakes in your walls, you have a serious problem these helpful predators won’t be able to solve for you.
One way these predators can be useful to you, though, is by getting your attention. Predators tend to flock to where their prey lives, so if you’re seeing a lot of these animals in and around your backyard, you might want to be more vigilant of mice.
While we have mostly talked about wildlife, a fair question is whether your pet might be able to assist with a mouse issue.
While your dog or cat can occasionally be an option for pest control, there are negative consequences that can come with having your fur babies kill and eat mice in your home.
The first consequence will become apparent as soon as they kill one of these creatures. Not all cats or dogs will eat the prey that they kill, which means you could end up with a smelly surprise somewhere around your home or yard that could attract other creatures you don’t want on your property. This behavior is even more prevalent among spayed female cats. This is because their natural instinct is to teach their young how to hunt, and with no kittens, she will be bringing prizes back for you, her adopted family.
Another negative consequence of letting your animals hunt mice is that they can get sick. Mice carry hantavirus, roundworm, toxoplasmosis and other diseases that can be transmitted to our pets and then to us. Also, mice often have fleas, ticks or both which can then latch on to your pets. To make matters worse, many homeowners don’t realize that when mice ingest mouse poison, it takes some time for it to take effect. If your pet kills and eats a mouse that has ingested poison, your beloved furry family members can be affected by the poison as well.
However, there is a way homeowners have used their cat to their advantage when it comes to rodent control. But, does it work?
How To Get Rid Of Mice With Kitty Litter
While spreading kitty litter around your home could be seen as a strange way to spend your Saturday morning, some homeowners believe doing so deters mice from certain areas of your home. There are a few problems with this approach. For one, this technique has not been scientifically proven. The practice is based on the fact that rodents avoid areas that smell like a potential predator. The most obvious downside is that to be effective, the scent of cat urine needs to be apparent to your mouse visitors, and most homeowners would much prefer to place “used” kitty litter in the trash rather than sprinkle it in common rodent gathering spots.
If you would are determined to experiment with this approach before calling in a pest professional, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Most cat litter is formulated to hide the smell of cat excrement. In order for this technique to work, you’ll need to buy unscented kitty litter so that the mice can smell your cat. Fill your cat’s litter box with this unscented litter, then inspect your home for mouse droppings and potential mouse entry points. Mouse droppings are about a quarter of an inch in length, brown and cylindrical. Newer droppings will be dark and shiny, while the older droppings will be chalky. Mice can fit through a hole the size of a quarter, so when looking for potential entry points don’t discredit any tiny crack or crevice you come across.
Next, you’ll want to ready your materials for this project—gloves, plastic bowls and a scoop. Put on your gloves for hygiene purposes, then scoop the used litter into plastic bowls. Place these bowls around areas of your home with signs of mouse activity.
Continue to dispose of the kitty litter and replace it every two or three days. This process should continue for a few rounds until all of the droppings are gone from your home.
Keep in mind that if you have a cat, its smell may already be a deterrent for rodents, so the kitty litter technique is just a way to make your feline housemate more obvious. Homeowners that swear by this method report that it may take up to two weeks for the mice to recognize the presence of your cat and find a new place to go. If you continue to see droppings, you’ll probably need to take more serious action against the mice.
One common mouse hideout that homeowners frequently forget about is the garage.
How To Get Rid Of Mice In The Garage
Garages are common mice hiding spots. These rodents can survive undetected for months without any human intervention. Old cardboard boxes and leftover wood piles make great shelters for whole mouse families to grow and hide.
When deciding how to get rid of rodents in your garage, you may have to put more of a focus on this part of your property. This is because the garage is often the first point of entry for these pesky rodents, so it is worth the extra time eliminating all of the mice from this area of the home.
You’ll want to start by decluttering. The garage can often become a dumping ground for items that you don’t want, providing a perfect new home for a rodent visitor. To make your garage less attractive to these creatures, get rid of anything that you don’t need to store. Organize whatever is left in a neat and tidy way that leaves little room for mice to hide. This won’t just make things tough for mice, it will also make your whole family happy when they need to grab something out of storage.
Many people use their garage to store nonperishables and dog food. If you’re one of those people, make sure that you’re putting food in rodent-proof containers. If you’re giving mice (and rats) easy access to food, they won’t want to leave.
Some homeowners try spraying mice repellent in garages, sheds and other backyard structures. While you can buy mice repellant from a hardware store, there are other dangers associated with some products to your family and pets. Some homeowners experiment with making a more natural mouse repellent by mixing one part hot sauce with three parts laundry detergent and a whole lot of water. They believe spices send a message to your unwanted visitors, although there is little evidence that this is an effective long-term deterrent to rodents and other pests. The same goes for smells that keep rats away.
Of course, often the quickest and most effective way of keeping mice away is by calling in a professional.
ABC Provides Low-Impact Rodent Control
While you can work on your own to discourage mice from sticking around on your property, the process could take weeks or even months. The highly trained professionals at ABC Home & Commercial Services can quickly and effectively implement a rodent control plan by zeroing in on the source of the problem, removing any resident mice or rats and closing up entry points so that these uninvited guests don’t decide to make your home theirs. Instead of investing significant time and effort toward rodent control methods that may (or may not) work, call in the experts so that you can spend your precious free time on activities you enjoy.