There is a mouse living in my stove. He was not invited.
July 25, 2008 12:56 AM   Subscribe

There's a mouse in my stove.

At least, I hope it's a mouse. I've heard something clanging around in there for the last couple of nights. (It's perfectly silent during the day.) I've been able to keep the noise to a minimum with the occasional sharp rap on the stovetop, but I haven't actually seen the pest myself. There are no signs of mice elsewhere in the house, at least that I've noticed.

What are my options for getting rid of it?

1. Set traps, open the oven door, and hope the intruder finds its way out into a trap.

2. Leave it in the oven, where it will eventually die due to lack of food, and I won't have to deal with a living creature. Then remove the coprse. (Actually, is there any potential harm to it being in a gas stove, provided I don't turn the stove on?)

3. Call the landlord, ask them to send an exterminator, and let a pro deal with it.

Any other suggestions are welcome. Thanks.
posted by serialcomma to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's not trapped, so you can forget about #2. Ranges are typically pretty easy for mice to move through, so your unintended roommate is roaming around in and out of your stove and kitchen. It will not starve.

Set a trap (no-kill if you like, but no glue traps) at the back of the range if you can get there, otherwise, put it in the bottom drawer and don't waste a day hanging around waiting for extermo dude to show up.

4. Cat.
posted by sageleaf at 1:53 AM on July 25, 2008

Rodents usually feed on the leftovers you leave under the stove top. You should lift the stove top and place traps liberally. I'm not sure how you came to the conclusion that a rodent would be trapped in your oven, they usually don't work like that. And even if they did, would you want dead rodent in your oven?
posted by puke & cry at 1:56 AM on July 25, 2008

I've unfortunately had to deal with this in the past and the best place to put the traps is indeed at the entrances to the range at the back. They don't always fall for it but that's your best bet. The exterminator will probably do the same thing.

Also, most house cats are shit at dealing with mice.
posted by puke & cry at 2:03 AM on July 25, 2008

Puke & Cry, I came to that conclusion because the metallic vibrations that accompany its movement are very clearly coming from inside the oven. I suppose it could be under the stove top, though it doesn't really sound like that. But then, I've never had a mouse in my range before.

Ah, in any case, I'll get some traps tomorrow.
posted by serialcomma at 2:11 AM on July 25, 2008

In over half the states in the U.S., and particularly in the Southwest, mice are primary carriers of hantavirus. No point in getting freaked about it, but you definitely want to get rid of the mouse/rodent, find out where it came in, and stop that entry point, as well as thoroughly clean your stove and kitchen, taking recommended precautions while doing it. Letting the building management know about it, can help your building management get other problems in a multi-unit apartment building resolved. Mice can carry hantavirus without being sick themselves, so there is no way to know by looking at them whether or not they are carriers.
posted by paulsc at 2:12 AM on July 25, 2008

Am I missing something here? There seems to me to be one really obvious way to get rid of a mouse in an oven. 550 degrees and it won't even smell for long.
posted by rokusan at 5:01 AM on July 25, 2008

It's not trapped. Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime. Set traps. If you use spring traps outside the oven, put them on a sheet of newspaper, that way you can crumple up the whole deal and toss it.
posted by plinth at 5:52 AM on July 25, 2008

Am I missing something here? There seems to me to be one really obvious way to get rid of a mouse in an oven. 550 degrees and it won't even smell for long.

It'll just get out of the oven and move back in when it's cooled down.

If you're going for non-lethal traps and plan on releasing the mouse somewhere, do yourself a favour and do it far away from your home. Some people seem to just release them into their gardens/nearby park and are surprised that shortly after they have a mouse problem again.
posted by bjrn at 6:05 AM on July 25, 2008

You may be in big trouble. First off, there is no such thing as just one mouse. So keep that in mind. Here's the other bad news: mice and rats like to hang out in the insulation in ovens. I don't know if they eat it or just nest in it, but either way, they pee in it and it destroys your oven. Yes, destroys. As in you can never use the oven again because the smell is so unbelievable you have to leave your house for a day or more. You will have to replace the stove. This has now happened to me TWICE in my life, which I consider brutally unfair.

At any rate, here's my advice on what to do:

Pull the stove out from the wall. There's probably a hole or two back there under or behind the stove. If there's a bunch of stove insulation stuff - you'll recognize it; it's kind of simultaneously gross and fluffy - down there around the hole, just go ahead and write off your stove as gone. You'll still be able to use the stove top, probably, but the oven is toast.

Put traps - a LOT of traps - along the wall by the hole. You may want to drop poison down the hole before you stuff it full of steel wool. Unless this is a rat instead of a mouse, in which case, may the gods have pity on your soul. Here is a picture of a rat hole. If your hole is also this big, you have rats. Call in the big guns.

Put traps all along the baseboards and walls. Mice and rats run along the walls. Rats will take a while to get caught but they will eventually; mice are dumber. I can't handle the glue traps, myself, although people say they work best, but I stick to old fashioned snap traps. The best ones seem to be the newfangled plastic ones by TomCat - can't find a link - but they work a lot better than the old fashioned wooden ones, although they are also way more expensive.

Good luck. Sorry about the stove.
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:41 AM on July 25, 2008

We've had the same problem, even with an actively-mousing cat. We propped up the stovetop and set traps. Worked great.

Now, the pee issue--we did have several mice nesting in the oven insulation, and the smell was pretty bad. We ended up ordering new insulation, and taking the stove apart and replacing the nasty stuff. It was a big job. We videoed the take-apart, which eased the putting-back-together immensely.

To keep the problem from recurring, we liberally dosed the new insulation with cayenne pepper--just loaded it up, and shook the pepper into all the crevises of the insulation. The first couple of times we used the oven, yeah, the house was pretty fragrant, but that odor faded and hasn't been replaced with burning mouse pee.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:24 AM on July 25, 2008

I wouldn't write off the oven immediately. We had a mouse which burrowed into the isolation material, but I guess it peed elsewhere because the oven is working just fine. Still, it's probably a good idea to try to get rid of the mouse as quick as possible so you don't have the same thing as mygothlaundry happen to you.

And it is possible you just have one mouse, but don't count on it. I've heard people say that for every mouse you see/hear, there are X more where X is between 3 and 10. Sometimes you luck out and just get the one (well... lucky under the circumstances).
posted by bjrn at 7:29 AM on July 25, 2008

I had this happen last year. We couldn't figure out how to get it out either so we covered the entire stovetop and the floor and wall in back of the oven with sticky traps with peanut butter (which we'd chosen because it adhered the best) smeared all over them. Apparently mice love the hell out of peanut butter. It smelled it, came out to get it, and was instantly stuck.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 7:46 AM on July 25, 2008

Be VERY careful. When I was growing up I had a friend whose oven was host to mice. Not a big problem except that they built a little nest in there. One afternoon she fired up the oven to cook a pizza and the nest caught fire. Needless to say, horror of horros ensued, fire department arrived, the kitchen was kind of a wreck.

Stick with traditional mouse nabbing techniques and try to given the oven a good cleaning afterward.
posted by GilloD at 8:33 AM on July 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Peanut butter is the best bait. I recommend snappy traps because they kill the mouse instantly. Glue traps present you with a whole moral dilemma you don't want to get into.
posted by w0mbat at 10:50 AM on July 25, 2008 [2 favorites]

Also, check behind your stove to see if there's a vent hole. When I had rodent problems (they were in/under my stove too), it turned out that they were coming into the kitchen through an old stove vent that ran from behind the stove to the roof. The current stove isn't attached to the vent, so there's a dinner-plate-sized hole in the wall that I never knew about. That's how the suckers were getting in.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:48 PM on July 25, 2008

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