Do I have a rat or mice infestation?
September 9, 2017 2:51 PM   Subscribe

I have some not-great pictures of one a rodent in our garage, cunningly evading a rat trap and eating it's bait without setting it off. But what kind of rodent is it?

I can hear rodents scurrying and chewing in my attic. Our attics are adjacent to the upstairs, not above it. I set out a camera and some peanut butter a few weeks ago to see what I was dealing with, and got a few pics of the guy. I thought at the time it was a rat.

So I set out some traps. They are Victor Rat traps, familiar to anyone who's ever seen a rat trap, your standard wood base with a metal bar driven by a spring. I baited them with peanut butter.
Every single one of them has the peanut butter eaten off of them, but was not triggered. I caught one cheeky bugger on camera. Here are some pics of him assaulting my traps.

That is some expert positioning...
A rear view

Is this a small/baby rat? Or is it a mouse?

(I've ordered some smaller traps, which I will try when I get them. Also I will position camera for closer view next time and try to include something better for scale. The traps are about 6" long for reference.
posted by RustyBrooks to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
 
To my eyes that is a mouse. A lighter, more sensitive trap, or a trap designed for smaller rodents would work. You can also shim the snap bar up on a rat trap to make it more sensitive, but do so carefully.
posted by nickggully at 2:54 PM on September 9 [3 favorites]


Looks like a textbook deer mouse. You can check the droppings to tell for sure, it's possible they're too small to set off your rat traps.
posted by jessamyn at 2:54 PM on September 9 [3 favorites]


Yeah, looking at pictures he really does look like a deer mouse. I feel like the droppings are bigger than what the pictures indicate mouse droppings look like, but I will have to go back up and look when it cools off.

That first bait I put out, it took him 3 days to come up to it. I put the traps out yesterday morning though and within hours they were cleaned out.

(new smaller traps are on order)
posted by RustyBrooks at 2:57 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


I know you're in the US and this is a EU product, but these mouse traps are the best I've ever used and I've tried quite a few. Maybe there is a local equivalent available near you?
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:04 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


Relatively large ears and small head indicate mouse over juvenile rat.

Good new is you've now trained it/ them to take peanut butter from a trap so repeat everything the same with a conventional victor mouse trap and you should be all set.
posted by SaltySalticid at 3:07 PM on September 9


They make mouse traps that are kind of like clothes pins, in plastic. Here it is.
posted by Oyéah at 3:09 PM on September 9


You might find a mouse trapped but not killed. A convenient and humane-ish way to kill such a mousie is to put it in a bucket and gas it with car exhaust; it takes just a few seconds.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:14 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


You could look into humane traps as well; then just take the wee thing to a nice field away from your house.

posted by Halo in reverse at 3:17 PM on September 9 [9 favorites]


I was just going to say the same thing as Halo in reverse. I've caught seven mice in my house and released them all in nearby fields. On a couple of occasions we had to catch them in a Mason jar or plastic box. They freeze when cornered so that was relatively easy.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 3:19 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


In our previous house, which was a little on the edge of civilization, I caught and released mice. Where we are now, I'd have to go pretty far before I'd just be making my problem into someone else's problem.

The new traps I ordered are these
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N6XKVNY/ref=od_aui_detailpages00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
which look similar to the ones linked above.

The shocking thing is how much noise these little guys make. The internet said that whatever it is will be smaller than it sounds, but what it sounds like is, I dunno, squirrels or raccoons romping in my attic.
posted by RustyBrooks at 3:24 PM on September 9


Try soft brie.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:50 AM on September 10


Definitely a mouse.

Snap traps are kind of hit or miss. Tips from someone who owns an old house

- Use chunky peanut butter and smash one of the chunks into the tongue of the trap. It makes them work at it longer, more chances to set off the trap.
- Gang traps together against a barrier. I put 2 or 3 traps side-by-side with the bait end up against a wall. Mice are more likely to step on one of the side ones while working on the middle and their feet easily set off the trap.
- Secure your traps if you can - nothing like a mouse that got just a leg snagged dragging it off to a hard to reach locale to ruin your day
posted by no1hatchling at 11:42 AM on September 11


Nthing that it's a deer mouse. Deer mice and their droppings can carry hantavirus, a rare but dangerous respiratory disease. See the link for the safest way to deal with them.
posted by Lycaon_pictus at 5:51 PM on September 12


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