What are the odds that this was a mouse poo?
October 19, 2019 12:41 AM   Subscribe

I found a small thing in my bed that looked like a mouse poop (according to my cursory internet research). Assuming I don’t find any others like it, what are the odds that this was actually a poo?

If I actually had a mouse in my bedroom, I assume I would see more than one of these objects nearby?

I disposed of it in the toilet, where it sank to the bottom... does that mean anything? It did rule out the possibility of the object being lint.

Any insights welcome. Thanks!
posted by delight to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Could it have been a Klingon?
posted by fairmettle at 1:16 AM on October 19, 2019

It is odd to find one mouse poop without there being others- mice have the lovely habit of eliminating as they run, so it gets everywhere. That said, it could have been, sometimes you only find one to start.

Tips on dealing with mice: from someone who has them periodically come through our home and also at my workplace.
Clean up clutter. They love piles of paper, laundry and similar.
Mice prefer protected areas- have a look under desks, beds, along walls, etc. If you are going to find poops, it will be there.
Get rid of food, food scraps, and food like substances. Mice love chewing up foam, plastic bags, etc.
Smell. Can you smell the odor of mice? They pee. Mouse pee smells.
Block holes in walls with steel wool. (We haven't had them in our office at work since we blocked a key entrance.)

As to dealing with the culprit- this really depends on your own personal moral compass and where you live. Personally I'm in Australia, where the common house mouse isn't native and can breed to plague proportions, so I'm not averse to using mouse traps.
posted by freethefeet at 1:22 AM on October 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

It seems unlikely that you'd find just one mouse poop and that it'd be in your bed. Have you seen any evidence of mice in your kitchen? (Any cereal boxes or bread bags being gnawed open?) Do you hear scratching or something scurrying when you turn on the lights? If this is your first indication of possible mouse activity, i really wouldn't worry.
posted by salvia at 3:34 AM on October 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

My googlefu has failed me -- but it seems like if the question "do mice droppings float" is answered then a critical piece of the mouse/rodent decision tree falls into place.

I also agree that it's very unlikely to find only dropping spec.
posted by countrymod at 3:42 AM on October 19, 2019

I don't think it's that unlikely to find one dropping in your bed, you could have stepped on it and then gotten in bed, transferring it. But definitely have a look behind furniture, in corners, etc. If you don't find anything else then you're probably clear.
posted by geegollygosh at 4:49 AM on October 19, 2019

Some data points from fairly recent experience (and supporting a couple of things said earlier):

Mouse poops are small, like a grain of rice, possibly a bit smaller.

You're unlikely to see a number of them unless it's a place they hang out. The nesting/sleeping area would probably be back in the wall or another hidden cranny, so the most likely spot to see them, or their droppings, is where they're feeding.

The thing that attracts mice the most is fat. The spot in my kitchen that tells me if a mouse is around is a seasoned saute pan that smells of animal fat. If there's a mouse, that's where I'll see the droppings. On the other hand, I've left batches of bread in plastic bags on my kitchen counter for years--the bread, which doesn't have fat, has never been touched.

A few months ago, a mouse (or mice?) got at a small piece of homemade soap next to the sink and ate it over a single night. High fat content. Nothing left but the poops.

Chewing is the main concern to me, and also the other sign that they're in the area. Greasy plastic containers are something to check for chew marks--they're attractive for two reasons.

They'll chew to create a nest, too. The time mice made an enemy of me many years ago was when they made a nest behind a row of books on a bookcase: the outward spines of the books looked normal, but when you pulled one out, the lower back corner had been chewed to ribbons.

Back to your question: mice are active, quick, and can seem clever, but they don't have superpowers. A regular freestanding table with legs can make a mouse-free zone. In a bed, they could have climbed the bedclothes to investigate. Since there are humans already sleeping there, it's unlikely that they'd hang around or try to nest there.

In the north-central U.S., this is the time of year when temps are falling, and mice are coming inside looking for shelter--it's common for a new mouse to turn up this time of year in my area.
posted by gimonca at 6:15 AM on October 19, 2019

Out of context, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a mouse poop and small dried-up moth larvae, which is probably more likely to have ended up in your bed (possibly even gone through the washer and dryer).
posted by Lyn Never at 9:14 AM on October 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

It could be chocolate... brownie crumbs look suspiciously like mouse poop.
posted by littlesq at 11:09 AM on October 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Or a toejam football. (American-style football)
posted by bink at 6:44 PM on October 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Did it look like a coffee bean? It might be a roach egg case.

I found one in our bed once, ten years ago at a previous house, and for the past decade every coffee bean that escapes my husband's grinder freaks me out until I positively identify it.
posted by telophase at 12:46 PM on October 21, 2019

« Older There’s a blue light   |   Leather jacket in Italy Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.