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Our Mystery Mouse (or rat) - what to do??

(13 Posts)
MeAndMySpoon Wed 31-Dec-14 18:36:18

Ok. I think we definitely have guests living with us. But we have virtually no evidence of them coming into the house rooms to eat or crap or whatever. And therefore I can't work out what on earth to do about catching or killing them. confused

So several weeks ago, we heard a scrabbling sound up at the top of the living room wall, sort of 'behind' the coving. The cat (dopey bugger that he is) heard it to and knocked stuff off the mantelpiece repeatedly, trying to get close to it. But we never saw any evidence of rodents coming into rooms and eating. A couple of weeks after we started hearing this noise, and it only happening intermittently, I heard a gnawing right beside my bed, where I was keeping bags of Christmas presents for the children. The cat heard it too and had a good rubberneck. hmm The next morning, I looked at the bags and realised that a mouse had come into the bedroom and gnawed a chocolate coin (stocking stash)! This remains the only time we've ever had evidence of a mouse/rat in a room, eating our food.

Then, a couple of days after the coin incident, nothing, for weeks and weeks. I assumed the dopey cat had dropped a shrew or something, which wasn't well adapted to human food and allergic to chocolate or something. And now the scrabbling noises have started up again. confused What is worse, I heard actual squeaking up in the walls, which surely means it's more than one. Yet still no evidence of gnawed food, etc. No poo, no stink. We hear something quite weighty skittering across the ceiling (i.e. under the upstairs floorboards) in the evenings now. But no poo, no food eaten!

So what can I do? Clearly we have a problem or are about to have one. We're a 1920 semi and the house adjoining was empty for over a year until this summer - prior to that, it was lived in by a very old man with dementia and extremely low personal standards of hygiene sad who couldn't cope on his own. If he had a mouse infestation I wouldn't be surprised - he probably wouldn't have even noticed. Could it be that the mice/rats are still next door, being PITAs and eating our neighbours' food and just coming through into our house through gaps in the wall, under the floors?

I don't know where to put down traps/poison. The only thing I can think is to take up some floorboards in our bedroom (where I hear most of the noises) and do it that way, but not desperately keen to have open voids in the floor. I have a humane trap baited to tempt them out, located where the choccy coin was gnawed, but it's never been tripped. DS2 has autism and I'm not at all keen on poison lying around, plus there's the dopey cat to worry about too. Am fine about using snap traps (sorry) if it means nipping this in the bud.

Sorry, epic!

cooper44 Wed 31-Dec-14 20:25:48

eek poor you - I don't think you need to see that much evidence to know they are there. I had a mouse once and never saw any droppings but would occasionally see a scuttling creature in the distance as I walked down the hall.
you need to fill every possible hole with wire wool but that's fine if you can locate the holes. and be rigorous about putting all foodstuff away - when we had one before DS1 was a toddler so there were probably always odd crumbs around.
I'd maybe ask your neighbours too as it sounds likely they've come from that side.
We've just moved into a house with so many holes (old stone walls) I don't know where to even begin - when we stripped everything back to partially renovate there had been nests here in the past everywhere - literally in every wall, behind plasterboard, all over the attic, under the bath and - my fave - a rats' nest in a nook at the back of the fireplace. So I am living in terror that something will come back in.
Maybe get a professional in as they tend to really know their stuff and can advise you/possibly locate where they are coming in?

EhricJinglingHisBallsOnHigh Wed 31-Dec-14 20:29:05

I get mice wandering around from time to time, I put down traps. The noise from your roof or wall space doesn't mean you are about to get overrun though, I hear them in my house all the time and rarely see actual mice. It's just something that happens in old houses.

mineofuselessinformation Wed 31-Dec-14 20:33:56

Snap traps down in every room where you can (not in DS's obviously) every night after he's in bed. Keep cat confined to one room while traps are down. Bait them with a dollop of jam - they can't pick it off the trap that way. Take them back up each morning. Once you've caught one, put down a couple of traps in that room, keeping up with the others.
Hope you catch the buggers soon.

pinkhousesarebest Wed 31-Dec-14 20:45:06

We have had scuttling in our attics since we moved in 13 years ago. I have never seen anything in the house and have applied the live and let live mantra of the countryside. However we had a young rat move into our basement last Autumn (I saw it - there were no other signs) and I was not so magnanimous I'm afraid. (poison).

HotLipsHoulihan Wed 31-Dec-14 20:47:46

What to do, you ask? Err move, of course!

They're probably in your walls. I'd call the council out. Not sure how much it costs these days though. And if they no longer attend, then I'd be onto rentokil pronto.

Or buy a load of traps

mineofuselessinformation Wed 31-Dec-14 20:50:37

And to add (sorry!) keep up with the traps for a week after you think you've got them all. I eventually found out mine were coming in through the meter cupboard in my last house.
One particularly cold winter, I caught 12! (It was a house that backed onto fields so they were trying to find somewhere warm.)

MillieMoodle Wed 31-Dec-14 20:54:18

I'd get a pest control company out. We had some unidentified scuttling/gnawing in our loft earlier this year. Pest control man charged £20 for an initial visit and to put a couple of traps down. He came back a week or so later and nothing had been caught. Still don't know whether it was mouse/rat/bird/squirrel but it seems to have gone now. We then had gutters and fascias replaced so nothing could get in that way!
Pest man told us that rats and squirrels will keep to walls and straight lines, usually following the same route. Mice will run all over the place, like a child scribbling on paper.
Hope you find the culprit and get rid of it!

Madcats Wed 31-Dec-14 21:10:04

Thinking back to uni terraced house rentals, mice will travel far and wide to eat chocolate! The one time I had a mouse visiting my flat, it left a trail of poo behind (little black pellets).

We paid for(?) a council pest control man to help us the one time (in about 20 years) that we saw a rat come into the garden.

MeAndMySpoon Wed 31-Dec-14 21:36:06

Local council will cost £28 so not a major outlay. They don't check really to see where they got in (not exhaustively anyway) as you would expect for that price.

There will be any amount of tiny holes - the crappy porch some idiot tacked onto the kitchen, for instance, has an open drain in it (i.e. it would originally have been outside the back door) but not sure if that helps. There is a cold draught under the cooker but it's too heavy to shift and too awkwardly placed, so a hole there for sure. Backs of kitchen cupboards probably hide all manner of ways in. confused And we have lovely exposed planks upstairs, which sold the house to us initially - but they are crumbly (have been crumbly in the past, anyway) and have natural gaps between them. Basically, to entirely rodent-proof our house we'd have to spend thousands on reflooring, redoing the kitchen (in my dreams), and so on. sad

I'll ring them up next year grin and get someone to come over, anyway. I think the time has come to get serious. Then if the cheap council fix doesn't work, time to spend more on a private contractor, I suppose. Incidentally, we do leave food out on worktops all the time blush - I mean Christmas cake, packets of biscuits, bread, fruit, last nights leftovers - doesn't everyone? - and nothing untoward has been seen.

And yes, the floor under the dining table is usually unspeakable, both DSs seemingly incapable of eating anything without dropping masses of it. I sweep up but there will definitely be crumbs.

whataboutbob Thu 01-Jan-15 14:22:03

We had mice and tried the council- cost about �100 for their pest control to come and put poision, which may have killed a couple but more would just come. I got fanatical about putting food away etc but that didn't stop the problem. Most nights when I'd go in the kitchen I'd see a rodent scurrying to hide behind the washing machine. Then we got a cat. Within days they left, they could probably smell her. She's a good hunter and occasionally she catches one, but sadly for her they rarely dare come in now. It seems drastic, but we wanted a cat anyway and she is a great pet.

MeAndMySpoon Thu 01-Jan-15 15:24:28

Wow, WhataboutBob, that's a really costly council fee! shock Glad ours is only £28 - will ring them tomorrow and make the most of them!

Well, we already have a cat and he's lethal with wildlife outdoors, but ineffectual indoors, though I think it's not for lack of trying - he can hear them but can't get at them through the floor or walls!

It's not really drastic - time was, that was what a cat was for! grin

whataboutbob Thu 01-Jan-15 17:16:05

Yeah could be because we're in London! Sorry your cat isn't managing to curb the problem. it must be driving him kitty mad smelling and hearing them! Good luck with the council pest control though.

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