Although very small, the mouse is a widely feared pest, probably due to its unpredictable and quick movements. If you have a mouse in your house, you may hear scampering feet above your ceiling or inside your cavity walls at night. Or you may discover mouse droppings or gnawed cereal boxes in the kitchen. Another tell-tale sign is the distinctive odour that mice emit.
When it comes to solving a mouse problem, it does not really matter what type of mice live in London houses. All the different types of wild mice have the potential to bring infection and destruction into your home.
Just like rats, mice carry disease and can contaminate foodstuffs with their fur, eating and urine, which can cause salmonella poisoning and gastroenteritis. In addition, they can damage your property by gnawing through wood, cables and into containers to get at food.
Types of mice in London
There are four types of mice living wild in and around London: the house mouse, the field or wood mouse, the yellow necked mouse and the harvest mouse. Two of these are pests – the house mouse and the field mouse. If you have mice in your London home, they will almost definitely be house mice.
The house mouse. This is London’s most common mouse. The adult house mouse measures around 7 to 9cm long with a thin tail of about the same length. Its fur is smooth and brown-grey in colour, becoming lighter underneath. It has quite large ears, small eyes, a small pointed head and small feet.
The field mouse. The field mouse is slightly larger than the house mouse and its coat is a warm brown colour rather than the dullish grey-brown of the house mouse. It has larger eyes and ears than the house mouse, making it quite easy to spot the difference. A field mouse can survive outdoors, but will sometimes find its way into a house, where it can breed and become a pest control problem.
Where will a house mouse nest?
The house mouse likes to live indoors. It can get in through the tiniest hole, just the size of a pencil, and will build a mouse nest in a warm place where there is a plentiful supply of food and nesting material. Loft spaces, cavity walls and the gaps under floors are popular places for mice to nest.
House mice eat almost anything that humans eat, but their preference is cereal. They don’t need much water, absorbing this from their food. They are most active at night, when they go in search of something to eat.
How to get rid of a mouse infestation
There are two main ways of dealing with mice – traps and poison – but if you have an infestation, it is likely that you will need the services of a professional pest controller to eradicate your problem. Mice are sporadic eaters, making it difficult to eliminate a whole colony. They are also surprisingly resistant to poisons. A pest controller will be able to help you mouse-proof your home and efficiently remove the mouse population.