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How Long Do Mice Live?

a mouse in an attic

The thought of having mice in your home is disturbing. If these creatures have shown up, you are probably wondering how long they might stick around. Well, the average lifespan of each mouse is just around two and a half years. However, where there is one mouse, there are typically many more mice.

This means that even if the one mouse that you know of dies off, it does not necessarily mean that your mouse problem is over. This animal might have left behind several more friends and family members.

This is due to the nature of the mouse life cycle. Female mice can get pregnant as early as just a month or two after they are born. Once they reach sexual maturity, female mice are fertile as often as every four to five days. They typically mate at night and can breed at any time of the year. Once a female becomes pregnant, her pregnancy usually lasts just about three weeks.

On average, a female mouse can produce four to twelve pups each time she gives birth, but some mouse litters are much bigger. On top of this, females can start mating again just hours after giving birth, which means they might get pregnant again right away. Because of this, female mice can give birth to as many as ten litters each year. This means it is possible that having just one female mouse in your home to begin with can lead to over a hundred extra mice running around your house every year.

This extremely quick reproduction cycle of mice is part of the reason why it is best to contact a rodent control specialist for any mouse problems. Do-it-yourself mouse control might seem like the easiest or cheapest way to deal with mice, but in reality, this can cost both money and precious time. When homeowners without much experience with rodent control try to deal with this kind of problem on their own, it can leave them with an infestation that can last much longer than the lifetime of just a single mouse.

While you might be able to capture a few mice, the mice that you do not see can continue to multiply and produce an even bigger mouse problem in your house. Mice can damage your home by chewing through areas and items like walls, pipes, wires and boxes. They can also pose a risk to you, your family and your pets. Mice can contaminate food as they eat it, plus they can carry a range of dangerous diseases including plague, Typhus fever and Salmonella.

Thankfully, you do not have to manage the mess and frustration of mice all on your own. If you contact a rodent and wildlife control specialist, they can use their expert skills and tools to take care of everything for you. Not only can they get rid of the mice you currently have in your home, but they can also help prevent additional rodent infestations in the future.

mouse droppings in an attic

How Do I Know if This is Old Mouse Poop?

Even if you find mouse poop in your home, it does not necessarily mean that you currently have mice. It is possible that there is still poop left behind from an old infestation. One way you can figure out if there are still mice around is to examine the poop to see if it is new or old.

A primary difference between old mouse poop and new mouse poop is the color. Newer droppings are likely to be a brighter black, brown or greenish color—depending on what the mouse has eaten. On the other hand, poop that has been around for a while more often appears faded and might be covered in dust. Additionally, old mouse poop will likely break apart and crumble when crushed. Meanwhile, newer droppings typically flatten when squished.

Signs of an Active Mouse Population

Another good way to figure out whether the mouse poop is old is to look for other signs of a possible infestation. Beyond finding mouse poop, some of the other most common signs that mice are present around a property include:

  • mouse tracks;
  • traces of a possible rodent nest, such as a gathering of twigs, finely shredded paper, grass, bundles of cotton or stacks of other fibrous materials;
  • finding dead mice inside or outside your home;
  • noises—especially at night—in the walls or attic that sound like mice scratching, squealing or bumping against things;
  • weird smells, such as a musky odor;
  • chew marks or signs that something has chewed on and damaged parts of your home, such as the wiring, insulation or walls;
  • unexplained holes in food packages or food that is partially eaten, especially cereal grains or pet food;
  • greasy smear marks on walls;
  • spotting live mice running around your property or
  • runways along baseboards or marks that look like a place where something has run back and forth.

It can be difficult for homeowners to recognize many of these signs because mouse poop and the other things they leave behind can look like droppings from many other types of pests. Beyond that, when you do not know what kind of pest you are dealing with, it makes it near impossible to know how to get rid of these creatures. That is one reason it is usually best to contact a professional if you think you might have mice in your home.

A qualified rodent and wildlife control specialist will have the training and tools to figure out what kind of critter is leaving poop in your home and will know whether it is new or old. They also have the skills to take care of all your rodent and wildlife control needs for you, so you do not have to worry about it.

a tidy kitchen

What Keeps Mice Away?

One of the best ways to keep mice away is to remove anything that might attract them, such as places they can use for shelter or things they might eat or drink. Some specific actions you can take to make your home less attractive to mice include:

  • Promptly get rid of empty boxes or other unused clutter inside or around your house.
  • Store any food that you might have in your pantry, including pet food in sturdy, rodent-proof containers, such as metal cans, glass jars or other airtight canisters.
  • Use only garbage cans that are made of sturdy materials like metal and that have tight-fitting, rodent-proof lids.
  • Trim back tree branches touching your roof to prevent mice in your attic.
  • Quickly clean up any areas where food is prepared or stored.
  • Do not overfeed pets and clear away any food or water that pets do not consume right away.
  • Store trash cans away from your house.
  • Quickly dispose of any kind of waste, but especially any type of trash that has a strong smell.
  • Keep firewood piles away from the house and preferably off the ground.

It is also important to take measures to prevent mice from getting into your house. Mice are agile and can jump much higher than their own height. Plus they can climb or run up a variety of surfaces, even along thin cables. That is why it is important to use steel wool, caulking or another chew-resistant material to seal up places where mice might enter your home, such as:

  • gaps around doors or windows;
  • openings around pipes, cables or wiring;
  • open windows or doors, including the garage door;
  • cracks in crawl spaces;
  • plastic sheeting or rubber coverings;
  • between broken, loose or missing shingles or bricks;
  • any holes along the outside of your home that are larger than the thickness of a pencil;
  • deteriorated siding or boards;
  • loose fans or vents and
  • chimneys that do not have a proper cap.

There are a number of steps you can take to make your house, your yard and your shed less attractive to mice. But, unfortunately, protecting a home against mice is not just a one-time job and sometimes, mice try to make their homes in even the cleanest spaces. This is why it is wise to reach out to a specialist who can provide ongoing rodent proofing services.

If you contact a qualified pest control expert, not only can they check your home and help treat any problems you might be dealing with right now, they can also work with you to set up a schedule for ongoing rodent control services. When you work with a trusted rodent control expert, they can give you peace of mind and help ensure that you can worry less about future problems.

ABC Can Control the Mice on Your Property

Trying to control mice on your own can feel like a full-time job. Instead of trying every trick in the book, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our professionals are highly trained and can create a thorough rodent control plan that is tailored to your home. This way, you and your family can feel comfortable at home again.

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