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All animals need food, shelter and warmth to survive and breed. Even small amounts of split food can provide plenty of food availability for mice, especially as most human food is high in sugar and fats. Given a mouse only weighs around 10 grams, it doesn’t need much in the way of split food or refuse to live and raise a family. Dog and cat food is nearly always left on the floor all day and night where it is easily accessed by foraging rodents.
Much like our food, it is high in proteins and vitamins and therefore is ideal for supporting rodent infestations. Pet birds can encourage an infestation, the canary & millet seeds used to feed them are ideal mice food, they usually come in soft packaging that is easily gnawed through and mice can fit through the bars to all bird cages.
Pet guinea pigs and rabbits etc. are also contributing factors to an infestation for the same reasons, ideal food source and mice can get into the cages/hutches etc. The boom in cash ‘n’ carry stores has caused an increase in the number of households who stockpile large sacks of rice, cereal boxes, biscuits, crisps, dog biscuits etc. to take advantage of the cheaper prices. The soft packaging allows these stockpiled foodstuffs to be easily accessed by foraging rodents and quite often the infestation will go un-noticed for weeks due to the slow turnover of ‘stock’. Given each mouse can rear an 8 strong litter within 6 weeks and continue doing so every 6 weeks, a problem can arise very quickly indeed.
Mice are part of the ‘Rodent family’ – this means their 2 front teeth constantly grow. To keep these teeth in check, they have to constantly gnaw to wear them down. This means mice can gnaw through floorboards, door frames, plastic pipes, and electrical cables and even lightweight aluminium. This provides a problem for the pest controller as any proofing works are often bypassed by the mice gnawing through the proofing product or simply gnawing another access hole next to the area proofed. Mice have evolved over millions of years to be exceptionally good at squeezing through small gaps.
Mother Nature has taught them that their survival depends on it, as it allows them to evade predators, access foods and gain shelter. Their tiny skulls, pointed faces and flexible bodies allow them to squeeze through holes and gaps as small as 5 mm (essentially what you can push a biro through). This combined with their gnawing ability, makes proofing for mice incredibly difficult. Mice are also honed athletes, they can jump up to a metre and run up a vertical brick wall. As Pest controllers we are continually astonished at their ability and determination to access an area that provides them with food, shelter and warmth.