lab rat dropping excrements, closeup

What You Need to Know About Mouse Feces

The Appearance of Mouse Feces

Mouse feces are oftentimes the size of a grain of rice- about 3/16 or an inch to about a ¼ inch in length. They tend to have pointed ends. The color of mouse feces vary in color based on the age of droppings as well as a mouse’s diet. The color of mouse feces range from black to blackish brown to gray. Gray feces are those that are older and have dried. 

A single mouse will expel between 50 to 75 droppings each day. You can ascertain the severity of a mouse infestation in your home or business based on the number of droppings you see.

Where You’re Most Likely to Find Mouse Feces

Mice “poop” while they are moving about. Thus, you are likely to see mouse feces spread in a number of locations. For example, because mice prefer to travel next to a wall, you are likely to find mouse feces along walls in your home or business.

Mice may defecate near where they nest but they will not “poop” in their nests. They also defecate near the area where they breed, which can be apart and away from where they nest. Thus, when you identify mouse droppings, you have not necessarily discovered where mice are nesting in your home or business.

Mouse Feces and Disease

Mouse feces can carry disease. Moreover, the viruses and bacteria that might be present in mouse feces can result in very serious and even fatal disease. The hantavirus is a prime example of the type of serious pathogen that can be found in mouse feces.

Hantavirus can survive in mouse feces for an extended period of time. This includes dried mouse feces. Indeed, dried mouse feces are particularly dangerous.

Dried mouse feces are particularly susceptible to crumbling. In fact, they barely need to be touched before crumbling.

When mouse feces crumble, dust expels into the air. Within this dust can be harmful pathogens, including hantavirus. If a person is in the vicinity of crumbling mouse feces, that individual is likely to inhale the aerosolized or airborne mouse feces. The hantavirus can be spread in this manner.

Once infected with the hantavirus, a person can develop a potentially fatal disease known as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. This disease results in hemorrhaging of capillaries in the lungs. As a consequence, a person’s lungs fill with blood, which oftentimes results in death. At this juncture in time there is no treatment for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Some people do recover from the syndrome. However, medical professionals have yet to identify why some people recover and others do not.

Cleaning Up Mouse Feces

As has been explained earlier, mouse feces are dangerous. The potential for contracting serious or even potentially fatal disease from mouse feces cannot be minimized. As a result, extreme care must be taken when cleaning up mouse droppings. This includes using appropriate personal protective equipment.

Chief among the personnel protective equipment that must be worn when cleaning up mouse feces is an OSHA-approved respirator. Most experts in the realm of disease maintain that a simple face mask is not sufficient protection from airborne mouse dropping dust and the potential pathogens that might be contained in it. In addition to a respirator, mouse feces cleanup protective gear needs to include:

  • Gloves
  • Clothing covering (like a disposable Tyvek suit)
  • Protective eyewear

Because of the safety risks associated with cleaning up mouse feces, if you face this type of situation you should consider seriously engaging the professional services of a biohazard cleanup specialist. This type of expert has the skill, equipment, and experience necessary to safely and thoroughly eradicate potentially dangerous mouse droppings.

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