Mouse droppings look like dark grains of rice.
They’re small and elongated in shape, with a dark brown color. And being able to spot them is crucial if you want to quickly identify a mouse problem and take steps to deal with it.
That’s what this guide is here to help with. Below, we’ll dig into the details of mouse poop, looking at the size, color, and shape it tends to be.
We’ll also answer some common questions you might have about mouse droppings and how to identify them.
The Size of Mouse Droppings
Size-wise, mouse droppings are generally small, ranging in size between 1/8 and 1/4 inch (or between 3 and 6mm). For reference, they’re similar in size to grains of rice.
The precise size depends on the size of the mouse in question, as well as its age – older and bigger mouse tends to produce larger droppings.
The Color of Mouse Droppings
When it comes to color, mouse droppings are typically dark brown in color, but the exact shade will depend on several factors, including the age of the poop and the mouse’s diet.
- Fresh: When droppings are at their freshest, they’ll usually be a dark chocolate color, with a moist, shiny surface.
- Old: As they sit out and age, mouse droppings lose their moisture. They may become gray or black as time goes on.
If you spot mouse droppings that look shiny and wet, it’s usually a sign that a mouse has been in the area recently.
If the droppings look old and gray, there’s a chance that the mice have already left. However, the sight of any droppings, regardless of color, should always be taken seriously.
The Shape of Mouse Droppings
In terms of their shape, mouse droppings tend to be small and elongated. They’re like mini ovals or cylinders, and have pointed ends, which gives them quite a different shape when compared to other animal droppings.
The Frequency of Mouse Droppings
Mice can produce quite a lot of droppings daily, but it all depends on their diet.
On average, a mouse eating well and in good health should produce around 50 to 75 droppings a day, but those eating lots of food can produce much more.
If you see droppings in large quantities, it could be a sign of either one mouse that is eating lots of food, or multiple mice. It’s often hard to tell the difference, which is why any sighting of droppings has to be taken seriously – homeowners should quickly consider mice control products to address the issue.
The Location of Mouse Droppings
You’re more likely to spot mouse droppings in certain areas than others.
If you suspect that you might have a mouse problem, it’s worth investigating in the following zones to see if you can spot any droppings:
- The calmer, quieter areas of the home, like the basement, attic, or garage
- Areas where food is likely to be found, like kitchens and pantries
- Near appliances, like the fridge, freezer, or laundry machine
- Around bathroom cabinets and sinks, beneath large pieces of furniture, like sofas and chairs
- Alongside baseboards
- In closets, wardrobes, and other big storage areas where mice are likely to nest
Naturally, you’re more likely to find mouse droppings at ground level, as that’s where mice tend to explore, forage, and nest.
They’ll usually leave droppings behind while roaming around the house at night in search of food.
The Smell of Mouse Droppings
In small quantities, mouse poop won’t emit much of an odor. However, as it gets older, or if it’s in large quantities, it may give off a kind of musty smell.
Mouse urine is much more pungent, smelling strongly of ammonia – this smell can also attract other mice, so both droppings and urine should be cleaned up quickly.
Mouse Poop vs Rat Poop
There are quite a few similarities between rat droppings and mouse droppings. Telling the difference between rat and mouse poop is therefore difficult.
They’re both similar colors and shapes. However, there are a couple of notable differences:
- Size: While the average mouse droppings are between 1/8 and 1/4 inch, rat droppings are much bigger, typically between 3/4 or a full inch.
- Shape: Mouse droppings are notable for their pointed ends, while rat poop is more oblong and rounded at the ends.
- Frequency: Mouse droppings are regularly found in little groups, while rat poop is often found in individual pieces.
The Risks of Mouse Droppings
Mouse droppings are unpleasant and worrying to see in and around your home. Worse still, they can also harbor all sorts of germs and spread diseases.
As such, mouse droppings should be seen as a serious health hazard and approached with caution.
Handling or coming into contact with mouse poop could raise the risk of the following infections:
- Hantavirus: Hantavirus is a viral infection that affects the respiratory system. In mild cases, it doesn’t cause much more than a cough and mild fever. But in the worst cases, it can develop into a more serious condition, called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome or HPS, which includes many nasty symptoms.
- Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis: Lymphocytic choriomeningitis is a neurological disease, carried by an estimated 5% of the house mouse population. It can lead to a range of symptoms, from bodily aches to vomiting, fever, and lack of appetite. In the more serious cases, it may develop into meningitis or other diseases.
- Salmonellosis: Salmonellosis is a bacterial infection caused by exposure to the salmonella bacteria, which is found in many animal feces. One of the most common ways in which people catch salmonellosis is by eating food that has been contaminated with feces. It causes diarrhea and strong stomach pains.
- Rat-Bite Fever: Despite the rat-related name, this infection can also come from mice and certain other rodents, and it can be transmitted through feces, as well as through bites. It’s a bacterial infection that can cause an array of symptoms, including fever, muscle pain, and joint pain too.
How to Clean Mouse Droppings
If you spot mouse droppings, it’s natural to want to clean them up right away and take other steps, like setting up some mouse repellent bags or other mice repellent solutions.
However, it’s important to clean up mouse droppings responsibly and carefully.
Don’t simply rush in and sweep them up or use a vacuum cleaner to suck them away – this can disrupt the droppings and cause certain germs or substances to become airborne.
Instead, follow the steps below, as recommended by the CDC for cleaning up mouse droppings.
- Give the area that needs to be cleaned some time (around half hour) to air out before you get started.
- Wear protective gloves, along with a mask and goggles for your safety.
- Spray a disinfectant solution – make your own by mixing one part bleach with 10 parts of water – all over the surface and let it soak in thoroughly for a few minutes.
- Use paper towels or disposable wipes to clear away as many of the droppings as possible. Look around the nearby area for any other clusters of poop you may have missed.
- Discard the paper towels or wipes in a trash can and seal it shut.
- Repeat the process as needed, gathering up all the mouse droppings and sealing them away in a tied-up bag or a closed trash can.
- With your hands still in the gloves, wash them thoroughly using warm soapy water – be careful to avoid touching anything with the gloves, as you may contaminate any surface you come into contact with.
- Remove the gloves carefully and wash your hands with warm water and soap.
- Use disinfectant again on any surfaces that you may have touched while wearing the gloves.
Mouse Prevention Tips and Tricks
To avoid having mouse droppings in your home, you’ll need to keep mice out, or get rid of them if they get inside.
And while most people immediately think of mice killer traps and pest control services for dealing with mice issues, there are lots of other, simpler ways you can keep mice away and avoid any problems.
Here are some of the best mice repellent strategies:
- Mouse Repellent: One of the best ways to deter mice is to use mouse repellent spray and other products. Natural mouse repellent solutions can work wonders at keeping rodents away, without posing any unwanted risks or dangers to people or pets inside the home. And there are lots of mouse deterrent products to pick from.
- Seal Entry Points: Due to their small size, mice find it easy to sneak in via gaps, cracks, and holes, especially under doors or in window frames. An effective way to stop them is to seal up all those gaps. You can call in a specialist to do it for you, or grab a caulk gun and some other supplies to seal everything shut – this can also help you reduce your energy bills.
- Clean Up: Mice use their sense of smell to sniff out homes that have lots of food available for them to eat. In other words, they can smell homes that tend to be messier, with spillages, crumbs on the floor, and open bags or containers of food left around. Therefore, a simple tidying up can make a massive difference in terms of mouse prevention.
- Get a Cat: This isn’t for everyone. People with allergies, for example, won’t even want to consider this solution. However, getting a cat can be a powerful way to guard your home against mice. With their natural predatory instincts, cats can hunt down any mice inside the house, and even their presence is enough to stop mice getting near.
Use the Best Mice Repellent to Avoid Mouse Problems
With their small size, dark color, and distinctive, pointy ends, mouse droppings are quite easy to spot.
If you see them, it usually means that mice have made their way into your home and need to be dealt with. Otherwise, they could spread germs and reproduce at a rapid rate.
One of the best ways to deal with a mouse problem – and to prevent infestations in the first place – is with Tougher Than Tom’s Mice Eliminator Pouches.
Packed full of the best mouse repellent ingredients, these mouse pouches can keep your home rodent-free.