Got Grubby Walls? You Could Have A Mouse Infestation

Here are the red flag signs you've got an infestation.
Richard Drury via Getty Images

Here are some things I share with cartoon elephants: 1) I can pretty much always go for a bun, and 2) I’m absolutely terrified of mice.

As summer winds down, more and more of the four-legged fiends might become visible in your home. This is because they’re seeking food and shelter in the harsher climes ― understandable, but nonetheless annoying.

Unfortunately, mice are experts in concealment. The tiny critters flit between skirting boards, under cupboards, and in other small, dark places, making them hard to spot.

So, we thought we’d share the (unusual) tell-tale signs you’ve got a mouse problem on your hands ― as well as what to do to get rid of them.

1) You’ve got oily streaks on your walls

It’s pretty grim to think about, but, like us, mice have a type of oil called sebum in their fur.

And because mice use touch, rather than sight, to navigate their way through the world, their shanks often make contact with your walls.

On top of that, mice are (literally) creatures of habit, so they’ll often take the same route multiple times. That means the sebum deposits get bigger and clearer over time.

2) Your house smells a bit like wee

Mice pee a lot. As in, it’s more or less a constant stream (delightful).

Their urine has a very strong ammonia scent, which grows closer the closer you get to the centre of mice activity.

In fact, in bigger infestations something called urine pillars (sweet mercy) are formed. Mice grease, combined with pee and dirt, can create cursed columns up to 4cm tall.

3) You hear mysterious scratching noises

If, like me, you’ve led in bed at night wondering what exactly is causing that clawing noise, I have bad news for us both.

Mice are especially active at night and can be especially audible under floorboards, between partition walls, in false ceilings, and in lofts.

If you’re not sure whether or not the sound comes from a mouse, try tapping your walls or floorboards near the noise source. If the scratching stops after the disturbance, you’ve more than likely got a mouse problem on your hands.

4) You’ve noticed little balls of soft, shredded material around your home

Mice make nests from paper, cloth, string, and even pillow and mattress stuffing, So if you’ve noticed parts of your softest items have been shredded ― and particularly if you’ve noticed a ball of the stuff on your floor ― you more than likely have a mouse problem.

Of course, these are just some of the lesser-known signs of an infestation. Other symptoms include:

  • Tiny footprints in your dust
  • Small, black droppings
  • Tunnels, especially through warm spots like stoves, dishwashers, furnaces and water heaters
  • Teeth marks and food debris

If you suspect an invasion, consider taking steps to tackle the issue.

And in the meantime, I’m off to check out that suspicious stain by my bins...