Animal Enemies of Mice
The Midnight Raiders: Mice
So Easy: Get a Cat!
The obvious solution to having mice in your house is to get a cat. Cats are the very best way to rid your home of these wee pests.
There are other ways, however, and none of them involve poisons, which are environmentally detrimental, or traps, which do work but don't usually get all the mice.
I used to have mice come up inside my car when I didn't have a garage, and unfortunately I lived too near a busy highway to let a cat run loose. The mouse once did $50 in damage to my SUV's air circulation system, because it built a nest of leaves and clogged up the fan. Mice also got into one of my other cars and tore up facial tissues out of the tissue box, left a huge trail of mouse dirt, and damaged the wiring to one of the interior lights. Yes, those cute little critters can be a mess of trouble, and if you're having them visit your home, you will want to encourage them to leave.
Jumping Mice? Yikes!
Did you know that mice can jump over 3 ft. high? Once when I was outside using a garden hose, a mouse sprang out of the underbrush and leaped straight for me. It would have landed on my stomach, but with a quick reflex I sprayed it away from me with the hose. Next morning I found it drowned in the livestock's water trough. I was sorry to see it. Even though it had scared me, I found it rather fascinating.
We can like them and still want them to vacate the house. The cycle of life says that animals eat other animals, and that certain animals are enemies of each other. Taking advantage of that natural cycle lets us multitask: the mice are hunted by your own vigilant elimination system, and you spend less time worrying about them.
Ferrets are amusing pets. They may not get along with your other household pets, so if you already have pets you may want to pass on this one. Also, some ferrets bite viciously. Some, however, are completely tame, and they will neatly rid your home of mice in record time. In fact, they also consume insects, and can kill a snake almost as well as a mongoose can.
(Note: Ferrets are not recommended for homes with kids under the age of 12. A tragedy that made the evening news: a ferret chewed the fingers off a baby's hand while the child was asleep.)
The controlled burn cleared the brush from the tired pasture quite easily. Unfortunate for the poor mouse, it ran the wrong way. Though it did manage to scamper away from the flames, it was out of the frying pan and into the fire for that little pest. Buff Orpington chickens are stout, tough hens with feathered feet. They killed it and eagerly fought over it, eventually consuming it before the hour was out.
Moral: chickens can and do kill and eat mice.
Pet pigs are delightful, and you can read about them here. They root up the turf and consume insects, grubs, mice, snakes, and other small creatures.
Hamsters: cute, adorable, fuzzy hamsters. Did I mention carnivorous? More correctly they're omnivorous, which means they will eat meat or veggies. They are also the sworn natural enemies of mice. Many insist that a mouse will not go near the scent of a hamster, so if you have a hamster in your home, you have a natural mouse repellent.
Terriers are descended from the great vermin hunters of times gone by. Certain species such as rat terriers are still used to hunt rodents on farms. Nearly all terriers still possess the tenacious instinct to kill small animals. Their stubborn nature requires much patience from their owners, but they are fiercely defensive of their turf. If you have the patience to keep one, you will likely lose all your mice in short order.
A Few Safety Tips
Whatever you do about the mice, you will want to remember a few things.
1. Mice carry diseases (including salmonella), so wash any surfaces they have touched.
2. If your cat consumes a mouse that has fleas, it could contract tapeworms. This is easily remedied by a dose of an over-the-counter medicine called praziquantel. Be sure to buy the formula meant for cats. The same goes for your terrier: keep an eye out for tapeworms. They make a formula for dogs.
3. If you are using traps and you also let an animal run about the house, think about putting them up high where the animal cannot get snapped. Fido and Felix don't deserve a sore paw!