Some of us jump onto the couch when we see a mouse in our house. Others remain calm. I personally had one run over my foot one morning as I was feeding the dog, sending kibble flying through the air.

Having a mouse in your house is not uncommon. Mice and their other rodent friends enter an estimated 21 million homes a year, primarily during winter months, looking for food, water and shelter from the cold weather. Mice are said to be the most common mammal in the United States.

House mice can range from light brown to dark gray. They have pointy snouts, large, mostly bald ears and a tail that can be as long as they are, or even a bit longer. I think we all know what mice look like.

But there are some things about mice we might not know. 

Mice are eating machines. They dine between 15 and 20 times per day, which is why they build their nests near food sources. And we all know what eating leads to…

Mouse droppings.

And not just any mouse droppings. COPIOUS amounts of mouse droppings. Mice produce up to 100 dark, disgusting little pellets per day. That’s 36,500 droppings per year! They also urinate in tiny droplets as they travel around your house, spreading joy everywhere they go. But on the bright side of things…at least they don’t vomit.

If you spot any mouse droppings in your home, it’s time to spring into action. One mouse usually means more mice. A female can have babies at just 2 months old, and can give birth to up to 12 little darlings every three weeks. This translates to one female mouse having up to 150 babies in a single year. Since a mouse can live up to two years, that’s 300 MICE IN YOUR HOME from a single female. If we want to get carried away…300 mice can produce up to 1.1 million droppings per year!

That’s a lot of droppings.

While there’s something appealing about these little furry bundles, especially the baby ones, don’t let their cute little faces, beady eyes and quivery whiskers fool you. Mice spread up to 200 human pathogens—Hantavirus, which is only spread by rodents, and Salmonella, a bacteria that infects people who eat food contaminated by animal feces, among them. As they move about your home, they easily contaminate your food, kitchen surfaces and equipment.

How do you know if you have a mouse infestation?

A mouse infestation can be difficult to deal with. Mice are also hardy little creatures. They can be found all over the world in all types of terrain. And they like to sleep during the day and become active at night. They can squeeze through tiny openings, some as small as a dime. A good way to keep them from getting into your home is to stuff any holes in your home, especially those leading to outside where utilities and pipes enter your house, with steel wool or seal them with silicone caulk. 

Some other ways to keep them out of your home are repair all damaged window and door screens and put screens over chimney and vent openings, keep your food in airtight containers, take out the trash regularly, repair pipes and clogged drains, and keep basements and attics well-ventilated and dry. 

But if you suspect you have an infestation, there are some signs to look for.

Firstly, droppings. If you’re lucky enough to never have seen a mouse dropping, they’re about 1/8 to ¼ of an inch long, dark and rod-shaped, with pointy ends. You might see little gnaw marks on furniture, wiring, food and pet food packaging and containers, and other household items. You might see their little footprints, oily rub marks along a wall. And although most of us wouldn’t know the smell of house mouse urine if it hit us in the face, apparently, you might be able to smell it.  

A mouse infestation can be difficult to deal with, but Pestop has all the answers for you. At the first sign of mice, head on over to your nearest Pestop location where you’ll find everything you need to see the last of these pests.