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Do mice stink when they die?

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by The Bug Doctor

For the most part people are pretty adamant about getting rid of mice. They aren’t fond of the idea of the little critters slinking around the kitchen, sneaking in the pantry and leaving all those little doo doo reminders in the silverware drawer. They know they want the mouse (or mice) gone but other than having the live problem running around I find that the #2 cause for concern for most people is having dead ones. Don’t get me wrong, dead is good for these folks but not dead in a wall or under a stove or other hard to locate place. This secondary worry can be just as strong for many people and they often ask me not to bait because there is no control of just where the rodent will end up when it expires. Their fear is that should the critter end up in a wall or other such inaccessible place and they’ll be stuck with days if not weeks of a morbid smell and that just simply won’t do. Oddly enough I also find that it’s these same people who raise concerns over traps or glue stations mostly because they don’t want to see the deceased mouse either but I digress.

Now I’m sure there are tens of thousands of example out there where a mouse that has died has legitimately produced an odor. ConsideringIMG00735 20101025 1941 300x225 Do mice stink when they die? the mouse population in this country this doesn’t surprise me nor does it change my thinking. Incidentally, mice population have been known to get as high as 80,000 per acre in some areas and as low as 4 to 12 in others. With that many mice anythings possible but consider this; I have done pest control for 27 years and found easily 10,000 dead mice and rarely ever smelled anything foul. Anecdotal? Maybe, you decide.

Hardly a week goes by where I don’t find an old mouse carcass behind a stove or a refrigerator that you can tell died long ago. The homeowner usually shrieks and then reports they never smelled a thing. When I do use glue or snap traps it’s not uncommon for me to come back for a regular visit (2 months later) and find that I’ve caught one or two and still, the client never smelled a thing. The times I have found mice to produce an odor have almost always been when the deceased mouse has ended up in a heated area or place with moisture or multiple mice are caught in one area. Spots like a refrigerator with the motor creating heat and the air is forced up and out, or times when 4 or 5 mice are caught on one glue pad.

The fact is mice are very small and only weigh about 2 ounces, they eat approximately 3 grams per day and do not require straight drinking water. Put this together and you really don’t have a whole lot of body mass to produce very much in the way of smell. Rats on the other hand can weigh close to a pound and can smell to high heaven as well as other small rodents like squirrels. For an experiment try putting 2 ounces of hamburger meat behind your stove and see if in a day or two you get a smell. Then if you’re brave enough do the same with a pound. (no ones ever tried it) My guess is you’ll come to the same conclusion I have. While I’m sure I won’t convince many of you out there Picture 8 300x211 Do mice stink when they die?who read this I’ll offer this last thought to the doubters. There’s an old saying where one verbalizes they don’t believe what they’re being presented with, this old adage uses a rodent to describe this mistrust but it’s not the mouse they used, can you guess what it is?

“I think I smell a rat”

Let me know what you think, comment below.


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  • http://www.xopest.co.uk Barry Simpson

    Conversely. Its been rare that I haven’t kicked up a ‘stink’ when dealing with mice.
    Probably comes down to location location location…..If I use poison, two weeks later the place is gonna smell bad for sure. Of course I’ve pulled out the odd ‘lollipop’ stick of a dried up crispy fur ball, but these have gone way beyond the decomposition stage and I guess I wasn’t there for that. Oh yeah, I was clearing a false ceiling space the other day and hadn’t notice the thumb of my glove had come off. You guessed, thumb went right into the belly of a ‘peak’ decomposing mouse! Took six washes to get rid of the smell and six days to get it out of my nose……………………….

  • http://pestcemetery.com The Bug Doctor

    Ohhhhhhhhh, that image is gonna stick in my head awhile. Thx, ;)

    I’m actually surprised by the response I got with this article-mainly on Facebook- I hardly ever find ‘stinky’ mice and I find many in all states of degradation but most pros that have chimed in say just the opposite. Not sure what to make of it really. Maybe I should check myself into a nose clinic and get my schnoz checked out. lol

    Thanks for reading
    The Bug Doctor

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