rat nibbling on wood

What Can Mice Chew Through?

Mice may be nuisances, but they are industrious. Mice may be dangerous through the spread of disease, but they are also tenacious. Mice, with their ever-growing incisors, have the ability to efficiently and effectively chew through many objects of different types. These include:

  • Drywall
  • Steel wool
  • Concrete
  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Fiberglass
  • Expanding form

Drywall

Drywall is the material of choice for inner walls in homes, businesses, and other types of structures in this day and age. Drywall primarily is comprised of an inner core that is made of gypsum. Gypsum is a mineral compound made of calcium sulfate dihydrate. As anyone who has encountered dry wall can attest, the inner gypsum core of drywall is hearty stuff.

The inner core typically is also mixed with fiber. In addition to the inner core of gypsum, drywall is also comprised of two outer layers made of paper.

When it comes to the chewing ability of mice, drywall is not a foe. Mice have no real issue chewing through drywall. The paper outer coating is no defense to a mouse. By the time this rodent reaches the inner gypsum core, a mouse can cause it to crumble quite easily with little mandible effort.

Steel Wool

Time and time – and time – again so-called “experts on rodent eradication and infestation prevention pontificate that plugging holes with steel wool and using steel wool in other ways is the ideal way to keep mice out of a building. The argument made is that mice cannot chew through steel wool.

The reality is something entirely different. Mice can chew through steel wool if they are so inclined. The issue for a mouse is that steel wool is not comfortable to chew. Thus, they will not take up chewing on steel wool unless they have to do so. Blocking an entryway for a mouse represents the type of situation that is likely enough to motivate a mouse to chew steel wool.

More significantly, a mouse need not chew very much on steel wool in order to defeat it as blockage into an area a rodent desires passage. A mouse can chew away a bit of a steel wool block, loosening it up enough to yank it free and move it out of the way.

Concrete

Although it should be, even concrete is not necessarily invincible to mice. If concrete is properly and fully cured, a mouse is not able to gnaw through it. The problem is that so often concrete poured on building construction projects is not properly cured for an array of reasons. (As an aside, the curing process takes between three to seven days after laying.)

If concrete does not properly cure, it will end up having only about half the strength of fully, appropriately cured concrete. Because of this strength deficiency, a mouse can chew through this type of concrete.

Wood

Mice can easily gnaw their way through many types of wood, particularly softer woods and thinner boards. Mice have more of a challenge with hardwoods and wood of a more significant thickness. However, even these types of wood are not invincible when it comes to a determined mouse or mischief of mice. (Yes, a group of mice is called a “mischief.”)

Plastic

Plastic, even the thick derivation, is no match to a mouse. The only attribute of thicker plastic that hampers a mouse at all is that it will take the rodent a longer time to penetrate. Mice have tremendous patience and will keep at a task (even when interrupted by a predator) for as long as it takes to complete.

Food containers made of plastic are particularly vulnerable to mice. You might think that a tightly sealed plastic food container will keep mice at bay. This type of container can help in that regard, but it is far from foolproof.

Mice have a keen sense of smell. It is possible for them to detect the scent of food in a sealed plastic container. They will gnaw on it for as long as it takes to access the food within.

Food containers are not the only plastic items at risk to a mouse assault. Mice are also prone to chew PVC pipe and the coating on wiring in your home. Thus, even a single mouse is capable of doing some damage to your home. Moreover, if you have an infestation in your residence, the damage you can experience may end up being profound.

Fiberglass

Not only can mice chew through fiberglass, they like to do so. They like to take the aftermath of their chewing efforts and use it to line their nests.

As an aside, mice favor fiberglass for other reasons as well. For example, if something is made of fiberglass, mice can scurry about on it or in it and not make a sound.

Expanding Foam

Expanding foam oftentimes is used to seal holes in a house (or other structure) as a means of climate control. It is also used to plug holes through which rodents have gained passage.

Although expanding foam can be useful in both of these regards, the reality is that it does not provide a permanent block to mice. A mouse is able to check through expanding foam if the rodent so desires.

In the end, forming an effective physical barrier to mice can prove to be a challenge. It certainly can be done; however, it will require determination and effort on your part of a level sufficient to meet the commitment of a typical mouse.