three white mice in a snowy setting

Where Do Mice Go in Winter?

Like many people in Southern California and elsewhere in the United States, you may have concerns about mice. You may worry about the prospect of a mouse infestation in your home or business. You may be experiencing such a problem as you read this article. As a result, you may find yourself with a variety of questions about mice and rodents more generally. For example, you may want to have a better understanding of where mice go in the wintertime.

Do Mice Hibernate?

A good number of animals hibernate during the colder months of the year. Some people believe that mice hibernate as well. In fact, mice do not hibernate during the wintertime. Rather, they continue the same round of activities in which they participate during the warmer months of the year. These activities are primarily foraging for food, seeking suitable shelter, and reproducing.

Seeking Refuge in a Home in Wintertime

As the weather turns colder, more mice seek out shelter in residential property. These rodents are drawn to homes for two primary reasons: shelter and the availability of food. There are a number of factors that will draw mice to a home and render a residence more accessible to them.

First, if garbage cans outside and inside a residence are not properly sealed, mice will be attracted to the premises. Second, if a kitchen is less than tidy and food is not kept in thoroughly sealed containers, this status will up the attractiveness of a residence to rodents, including mice. Third, if a home has lush vegetation directly at the perimeter of the residence itself, this will provide shelter to mice intent on entering into a house. The same holds true for piles of firewood that tend to be placed directly outside a home during the colder months of the year. Finally, if there are cracks and even the tiniest of holes in the exterior of a residence, mice can gain entrance with relative ease and take up nesting in a home for the winter months.

How to Tell If Mice Have Taken Up Residence in the Wintertime

Mice are relatively stealthy creatures by their very nature. Thus, the odds of you seeing a mouse sauntering about your home is not all that likely, with one caveat. When a mouse infestation in a residence involves an ever-growing number of mice (and they all do at some point), the odds of seeing a mouse out and about in your home are increased.

The telltale signs that you face a winter mouse infestation include:

  • Mouse droppings
  • Gnaw marks on walls and objects
  • Urine smell
  • Squeaking sounds
  • Scratching sounds
  • Scurrying sounds

The likelihood that you will see mouse droppings in different areas of your home increases as the mice population in your residence notches upward. You are likely to see droppings along pathways used by mice when they are foraging for food and returning to their nesting locations. For example, a sign of a mouse infestation is found in the presence of droppings at the base of walls in your home. When mice are out foraging, they are likely to stick near the walls when moving about so that they are not fully exposed. In addition, mice defecate when they are on the move. Thus, you very well may see what looks to be something of a line of mouse feces along a wall (or walls) in your home.

As a cautionary note, mouse droppings can be dangerous. Mouse feces can be disease vectors, containing pathogens that can cause serious illness.

Mice are like all other rodents and have incisors that never stop growing. Thus, they naturally gnaw on items to “file down” these teeth. They also will chew through walls and items for passage and obtain food. Finally, they will gnaw on some types of objects in order to glean material that can be used to build a suitable nest.

As the number of mice in your home grows, the smell of urine may become detectable. If this proves to be your first indication that you have a mouse infestation, you likely have a considerable number of the rodents lurking somewhere in your home.

You are most likely to hear the trio of sounds just identified in the walls, ceiling, and under the floorboards. In addition, you are not likely to hear these sounds significantly during the day. Rather, because mice largely are nocturnal animals, you are most apt to hear these sounds after sunset.

Eliminate Wintertime Mice

You need to take a firm approach to eliminate wintertime mice from your home if you do have an infestation. You cannot fall prey to the idea that you “really only have one or two mice in your home.” The reality is that if you have started to see evidence of a mouse in the house you actually are seeing evidence of multiple mice in your residence.