Where are mice during the winter, and what are they doing? Acting instinctively to survive winter may bring mice into your home, where they can cause problems for you. Here are some things you should know about what mice are up to during the winter.
Do Mice Hibernate?
At one time, it was believed that mice hibernate during the winter. However, this is not true. Unlike many animals, mice actually stay approximately as active during the winter as they are during the summer. This can cause challenges for them as food becomes harder to find and they need to find shelter to keep warm. Because human homes often offer both food and shelter, mice often find their way inside to make a nest as cold weather sets in.
How Cold Is Too Cold For Mice?
The ideal temperature range for mice is between 76 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this is only the temperature range at which they are most comfortable; they can survive lower temperatures. Most homeowners keep their houses’ interiors within this temperature range, or close to it, during the winter. Mice may sense the heat and come inside looking for shelter. Our attics and vents give off heat and the smell of food that attracts mice to the area.
Small animals such as mice are less tolerant of cold temperatures than larger animals because their skin surface area is much greater than their overall body size. A mouse left out in the cold in winter may not survive very long. However, mice can protect themselves from the cold by digging burrows or making nests out of warm, insulating materials.
What Do Mice Eat During the Winter?
Mice can eat almost anything because they are omnivores. They are also opportunistic feeders, meaning that, while they may have food preferences, they won’t pass up an easy meal. During the winter, food becomes scarce for mice. They prepare for winter by stockpiling stores of food as the weather turns colder, much like their rodent cousins, the squirrels. However, if the food stores become inaccessible or run out, mice can forage for food in the cupboards and pantries of your home. As mice move to more areas of the home, more bacteria and damage is spread. It is important to eliminate as many food sources for mice as possible. Be sure to keep food packages tightly sealed and regularly sweep the floors.
Where Do Mice Nest Inside Homes?
Mice are prey animals that are wary of larger animals, including humans. Therefore, they look for nesting sites in areas that are rarely trafficked by humans. Wall voids are common nesting sites for mice because not only are they inaccessible to humans unless they cut a hole in the wall, but they are full of soft, warm insulation that a mouse can rip apart and use to make a cozy nest for itself and its offspring. Basements and attics, especially if they are unfinished and are rarely, if ever, used, also make good nesting sites from a mouse’s perspective.
How Do You Know if You Have Mice in the Home?
Even if you have an infestation, you may not see mice in your house, at least not at first. Not only are they wary of humans, but they are also nocturnal, meaning that they are most active when you are probably asleep, and vice versa. However, because winter sunsets occur so early in the day, there may be some hours in the evening when you and the mice are active at the same time, and you may see one then.
Otherwise, you may hear mice moving around in the walls or ceilings at night when the house is quiet. This may sound like a scratching or rustling sound. You may find tracks either inside your home or outside in the snow, with the latter often being easier to spot. You may also find mouse droppings around your home, which you should regard with caution as mouse excrement can spread dangerous diseases.
Why Should You Call Skedaddle To Help With Mice?
Our technicians remove mice and other wild animals humanely from your home and restore them to their outdoor habitat. In addition, we decontaminate the areas where the mice have been to prevent hantavirus and other diseases. Learn more about our mice removal services.