So, you’ve found some droppings and you’re wondering who left them. Was it a mouse? Are you going to get sick if you touch them? What should you do?
You’ve come to the right place. We’ll tell you how to identify the droppings you’ve found and how to deal with them safely.
What does mouse poop look like?
Mouse turds can be distinguished from those of rats and cockroaches by size and shape.
Mice feces are very small, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch long, and thin – resembling a brown grain of rice with pointed ends. Rat feces, on the other hand, are larger, about ¼ to ½ inch long with rounded ends.
The difference between mouse poop vs. roach poop is even clearer.
The feces of small cockroaches are tiny black specks, resembling ground coffee or black pepper. Larger cockroaches excrete dark-colored cylinders with ridges along their length, which are shorter than mice droppings.
Distinguishing mouse poop from bat poop, on the other hand, is more difficult.
Rather than using size and shape, consistency is the identifying feature. Where mouse poop is thick and solid, bat poop can be easily crushed into powder.
Is mouse poop dangerous?
The short answer is yes.
Mice carry many diseases that are harmful to people and pets, including hantavirus, hemorrhagic fever, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, and salmonellosis.
Infected mice leave behind the viruses and bacteria that cause these diseases in their droppings and urine.
If you, a family member, or pet touch infected droppings, you could contact one of these dangerous diseases. Hantavirus, hemorrhagic fever and lymphocytic choriomeningitis are especially easy to catch as they can attach to dust and become airborne.
Beyond the dangers of the feces themselves, mice pose other dangers.
If a person or animal touches a mouse or is bitten by a mouse, the viruses or bacteria could be spread.
If mice get in your pantry, they will contaminate any of the food they sample.
They also bring fleas and ticks into your house, which can transfer to a person or a pet. Ticks carry bacteria and viruses as well, such as the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Mice also chew things, causing damage to the wood, particle board, and insulation that make up a house. They chomp on electrical wires, which can lead to house fires.
Typical places to find mouse droppings
If you’re concerned about a mouse infestation for any reason, a clear sign is feces left behind (other signs include grease trails on the wall, an ammonia smell, chew marks, and scratching sounds in the wall).
Mice poop a lot, so even if you don’t see a mouse, you’re likely to find their pellets.
They will typically be found where you store food, so check for mouse droppings in your kitchen. Places like pantries, drawers, trash cans, and kitchen cupboards are likely places that mice will go.
Since they look for food, anywhere you drop crumbs will be a mouse magnet. If you’re fond of late-night snacking, you could end up with mouse droppings in your bed.
You might find mouse feces in other dark, small spaces, like bathroom cabinets, closets, crawl spaces, air vents, pipes, or small holes in the wall.
Mice often look for warm places to hide, so you might find droppings around appliances that put out heat.
Mice also nest in walls, ceilings, floors, attics, basements, and garages. Check behind things like furniture or boxes.
If you have any wood piles or trash heaps near your house, check those, too. If they get near your house, they can get in your house.
How to clean mouse droppings
So, you’ve found mouse droppings but no mouse. That doesn’t mean you don’t have mice. You do.
Start by cleaning up food waste and making sure all food is securely stored, find and block any holes (even tiny ones; mice can fit through a hole the diameter of a dime), and set traps out along the walls.
These activities will ensure that you don’t have to clean mouse poop over and over again.
Open doors and windows to air out space for half an hour before you start the cleaning process.
When you get down to the cleaning, be sure to wear protective gloves (i.e., rubber, vinyl, latex).
First, spray the feces with a commercial disinfectant or a bleach and water mixture (1 bleach: 10 water). Leave that to soak for 5 minutes, then pick up the droppings using a paper towel and throw them in the trash.
You may be wondering, “Can you vacuum mouse droppings?” The answer is no. Even with their potency reduced, the diseases that are transmitted via airborne dust can still be infectious, and dust can be stirred up by brooms or vacuums.
Next, disinfect anything else in the area that may have come into contact with the feces, then clean all surfaces with disinfectant (or the bleach mixture) and mop the floor.
Now, you might be wondering how to clean mouse droppings from the carpet since you can’t mop it. After picking up the poop with a paper towel, get a steam cleaner and carpet shampoo and wash the carpet. You can also use steaming and shampooing to clean upholstered furniture. If you have any clothes or bedding in the room, be sure to wash them in hot water.
Finally, take off your gloves and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.
Mouse droppings are a sure sign that mice are somewhere nearby.
Both the droppings and the creatures that left them can be dangerous for both people and pets. They carry diseases, spoil food, destroy insulation, and even chew through wiring, which can cause fires.
With this article as a guide, you’ll be able to identify any mystery feces you come across, find any more little presents from your unwanted houseguests, and safely clean up their messes.