If you find mice in your home, it’s always a smart idea to lay down traps. Of course, if you’re really smart, you’d do the proper research. You’ll check out the most effective traps, and discover where you should place these traps in your home. You can even discover the best bait for mousetraps, so that mice will actually get trapped.
But sometimes the traps don’t work, even if you do things right. The problem is that you’re not dealing with some dumb brute that’s easily led to slaughter. Mice have been around for ages, and evolution has made them among the most adaptive creatures in the world.
That’s why they proliferate in large numbers everywhere, from rural areas to large megacities. Experts estimate the worldwide mouse population at maybe 20 billion. In a year’s span, 14 million households in the US alone have reported seeing mice.
Here’s the real truth about mice, as they’re not as dumb or as helpless as you might think:
Mice Can Be Trained
Trainability is one of the traits that people look for in the smarter animals. That’s why people regard dogs and horses as smart animals. They can be trained.
The same goes for mice. Animal experts have captured mice, and were able to teach them tricks. The mice were even able to sit up for their food and to respond to their names.
Mice Have a Great Memory
Even among people, having a good memory is part of being smart. Mice can remember, which is why they generally use the same routes when they’re out hunting for food and nesting materials. After all, if a route has proven safe, why go another way?
What’s more, they remember the locations where they’ve encountered danger. So, if it has escaped a trap at a particular location once, then they’ll know to avoid that particular location in the future. They may even remember how to beat traps, once they discover how to do that in the first place.
Mice Know How to Hide
In the natural world of predators and prey, one of the more effective ways for prey to avoid getting eaten is by not being seen by predators in the first place. Mice have an evolutionary instinct for hiding. That’s why they nest in dark, out-of-the-way locations. They’ll burrow in walls, closets, appliances, and even upholstered furniture to avoid being seen.
That’s why they don’t traipse around in the daytime, or in areas with bright lights. Also, they like to avoid wide open areas. They crawl through tunnels and other secret routes instead. and if they do travel along your floor, they tend to hug the walls.
Mice Have a Great Sense of Smell
They can smell tiny bits of food in your home, which is why they came into your house in the first place. If you have food always around in the open and you don’t regularly take care of spilled food, then it’s not surprising that you have rats.
Mice can smell humans as well, and they generally avoid areas that are frequented by too many people. They can smell you easily, and that’s why trying to catch mice unawares can be difficult.
In fact, this is one of the reasons why some traps fail. The sense of smell of mice can be so strong that they can smell the human scent on the traps, and that’s why they may avoid going near these things.
Also, when a mouse smells another dead mouse you’ve caught with your trap, then they know enough to avoid that area as well.
Mice Move Very Quickly
Mice aren’t exactly complacent when they’re out and about, looking for food and nesting materials. They’re always on high alert. They subscribe fully to Alastor “One-Eye” Moody’s motto of Constant Vigilance.
They’re always on the lookout when they’re moving, and they stay alert even while they’re eating. And that’s how some traps fail. When the mouse gets to the food, they can be alert enough (and fast enough) for them to avoid the coming trap. This is why you might find some traps that have been sprung but haven’t caught the mouse.
Mice Reproduce Very Quickly
This is another evolutionary advantage for mice. They’re virtually breeding machines. The gestation period is just 19 to 21 days, and they can get pregnant up to 10 times a year. When they give birth, a litter can range from 3 to 14 rats.
If you have a couple of “married” mice settle in your house, the female can give birth to about 60 baby mice in just a year. Maybe 21 to 30 of these mice are female, and they don’t remain babies for long. They’re able to have babies themselves after a month. In theory, you can end up with more than 5,000 mice in a single year.
With stats like that, no wonder the traps can’t keep up!