American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the Summer II 1997 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Beginners’ Corner

Mice Invading House; Stop Chewing Wires; Mouse Questions
Mice Invading House

Jacqueline Sawyer (e-mail)
QPersonally I like mice, although I do not choose to have one as a pet. Why I am writing is because I have a lot of them invading my house since Lowry Air Force Base shut down. It seems (according to the local newspaper) that when the people left, so did their cats. So, the mouse population has exploded and traveled into the surrounding neighborhoods.

Anyway, I don’t believe in killing them or hurting them in any shape, manner, or form. I just want them to go live somewhere else. There is PLENTY of vegetation, foliage, bushes, firewood stacks, and a park every 10 blocks in the Denver area. I feed birds and squirrels in my back yard, so I’m sure that is an added attraction for them to come hang out around my house. I’ve bought the “Have A Heart” mouse trap (and I even padded it with paper towel so they wouldn’t bang their little heads when tossed into it) and also the “Smart Mouse Trap” from P.E.T.A., both of which work. I then set them free across town by a creek with tons of grass, shrubs, and trees on the banks. But the process is slow and they are multiplying faster than I can move them. Plus, I hate the thought of unknowingly capturing a mother which then leaves her babies abandoned.

So, bottom line, is there any natural deterrent I can use to persuade them to NOT live in my house? Like moth balls or bleach or something in the cupboards? I’ve checked into the “sonic” equipment, but I would need too many since the sound doesn’t travel through walls. So, I would need one in every kitchen cupboard, plus I don’t want the squirrels outside to be driven away, just in case the sound “leaks” outside. I know about steel wool in cracks and holes but I don’t want to use that until I’m reasonably satisfied they are gone, otherwise I might be trapping them INSIDE the house.

Can you help me, please? Or refer me to someone who would know? Forever thankful in Denver.

AAbout the only thing that might work is to take ALL your food and put it in METAL containers with tight lids, stop feeding the birds and squirrels, wait 2 weeks, then plug up all the holes where they are coming in from outside. If they can’t get food at your house, they should go elsewhere.

Other than trapping them or having their natural predators keep the population controlled, they will be a problem. Karen Robbins

Stop Chewing Wires

Nadine Gourkow (e-mail)
QI am interested in information on how to get my rats to stop chewing wires. Thank you.

AOne method that many use is to get plastic pipe and place your wiring into those. Some people have tried different sprays, pastes, etc. (i.e. Bitter Apple, Bitter Orange, etc.) made for pets to not chew on things, but have found they don’t really work. The best method is to not let your rats run loose on the floors unsupervised. Keeping them up on a bed, couch, dresser, etc., is best. Many have found that even when they protect the wiring, the rats will turn their attention to the baseboards, carpet, walls, furniture, etc. With the plastic pipe, the House Rabbit Society people have found it to be the best solution for rabbits as they like to chew too. Flexible metal conduit works but is more expensive than plastic.


My name is Devon Kendra Johnson and I am in the seventh grade at Tuckagoe Middle School in Richmond, Virginia. I am involved in Virginia Junior Academy of Science and I am doing an experiment on mice involving two food groups. They are: Group one—fruit, vegetables, and nuts. Group two—commercial mouse food “Kaytee.”

QWhat is the daily food requirement for mice?

AIt is very difficult to specify what the daily food requirement is for mice. The ideal diet is a laboratory grade lab block designed specifically for rats and mice. The laboratories have gone to great lengths to insure that these diets are well balanced and supply all the vitamins/minerals/nutrients needed. That is not to say that you should never feed anything else. Your mice will enjoy the occasional treat of fresh fruit, vegetables, pasta, wheat bread, and other healthy snacks. These treats should make up less than 10% of your mouse’s diet.

QHow much should mice eat per day?

AIt would depend greatly on the type of food fed, and the size and genetic background of the mice. In Guinea Pigs and Other Laboratory Animals by Mosesson and Scher (pg. 31) it suggests that they need 4–6 grams of food per day. Most fanciers free-feed their mice (they have lab blocks available in feeders at all times), and the mice self regulate the amount they eat.

QWhat foods should mice never eat?

AYou should never give your mice potato chips, chocolate, sugary foods, salty foods, soda, fried food, or anything we would consider “junk food.” Also, high fat and high protein foods such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, and many other nuts are very unhealthy and can lead to obesity, tumors, and other health problems. These are the mouse version of junk food and should be fed sparingly or preferably not at all. *

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Updated January 3, 2019