While we are making sure our pets are warm inside, all sorts of non-domesticated animals are seeking refuge from freezing temperatures, too. This includes some animals that you don’t want in your home, like rodents.
While I think mice are adorable, I’d still rather not share my abode with them. It’s also true that if mice can make their way into your home, then cold air probably can, too.
There are a few ways you can make sure your home is filled with warmth but not rodents.
It’s very important to patch up small holes that lead to the outdoors. Mice are very small and will take any opportunity to sneak inside. Even if you think it’s “too small,” you’d be surprised at how mice can fit through even the tiniest cracks. The best strategy is if you can spot it, just patch it.
Another entry point for mice and air can be openings around drain pipes. Filling these holes will keep out rodents and save you money and energy.
It’s important to keep an eye on your garage door and make sure that all of the edges are meeting up, because this can be another great entrance for mice.
If you think you have a mouse, there are a few ways you can tell for sure, according to the Humane Society:
- Look for small holes chewed through bags containing cookies, breads and pet food.
- Look for small black droppings that are about the size of a grain of rice.
- Mice nests are made of paper, string and other household items that mice find laying around. The nests are often found in drawers and cabinets that aren’t used very frequently.
If you do indeed have a mouse, do not fear — you can get rid of it. I don’t like to kill mice because they’re not doing anything except what’s natural: They’re looking for a warm home and they’ve decided my home is pretty nice. Really, a mouse in my house is no different or somehow bad compared to a mouse in my yard; it’s just a mouse that’s in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Instead of a ubiquitous spring-loaded mouse trap, you can get live traps that you can use to catch a mouse humanely and remove it from your home. Live traps catch mice by luring them through one-way doors into containers with bait inside.
Poisoning mice can be cruel and it can also lead to other animals being poisoned. Mice can potentially eat poison, then leave a house and die from the poison outside. The poisoned mice can be eaten by other animals, which then also die from the poison.
Glue paper is also not a nice way to get rid of mice. It seems even crueler to me than poisoning or using traditional traps. Mice that get stuck on glue paper will be unable to move and will starve to death while they try to escape.
Live traps are definitely my favorite option for getting mice out of my house. But I much prefer avoiding having mice inside my house in the first place.
Here are some things you can do around your house to minimize how attractive your house can appear to mice:
- Sweep up crumbs wherever they are. Be sure to check in out-of-the-way places such as under your toaster and in corners of cabinets.
- Make sure that all your leftovers are wrapped up and put away quickly after a meal. The longer food sits out after a meal, the more chance it has to be spread around your house or for you to forget about it and leave it out.
- Seal and store your pet food bags securely. This is also a good idea if you have bird seed stored in your house.
So clean up your crumbs and fill all of your house’s holes this winter. And if you still get a mouse seeking shelter, try a live trap and release it outdoors. Let’s do our best to make winter as pleasant as possible for ourselves, our energy bills and our animal neighbors.