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Is it OK to live with mice in your house?

Living with mice in your house is generally not recommended, as they can cause damage and transmit diseases. However, some people may find mice acceptable housemates if the infestation is small and properly managed. Here are some quick answers to key questions about having mice in the home:

Is it dangerous to have mice in your house?

Yes, mice can potentially spread diseases and parasites to humans and pets. Diseases carried by mice include salmonella, hantavirus, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). Mice also bite, which can transmit rickettsialpox.

What kind of damage can mice cause in a home?

Mice can cause various types of damage by:

  • Chewing on wiring, which can cause electrical fires
  • Gnawing on wood and drywall
  • Burrowing into insulation
  • Contaminating food with feces and urine
  • Nesting in clutter

Can mice be contained to certain areas of the house?

It is very difficult to restrict mice to just one part of a home. Mice can fit through incredibly small openings and can climb rough vertical surfaces. Blocking all their routes throughout a structure is challenging.

What are humane ways to remove mice from a home?

Humane mouse removal methods include:

  • Live traps – catch mice alive for release outdoors
  • Sealing entry points with copper mesh, concrete, or steel wool
  • Removing food sources and nesting sites
  • Using deterrents like peppermint oil
  • Closing interior doors to limit mouse movement

Can mice be kept as pets?

Mice can potentially be kept as pets, but very careful precautions must be taken. Domesticated pet mice should:

  • Come from reputable breeders, not wild populations
  • Be housed in escape-proof cages/tanks
  • Be handled minimally to prevent bites
  • See an exotic vet for care


Allowing wild mice to freely roam in a home is generally inadvisable, given the health risks and property damage potential. However, a limited mouse presence may be tolerable if food and nesting sites are tightly controlled and entry points eliminated. Humane removal and deterrence methods should be used first before considering extermination. Pet mice require very careful handling and housing protocols for the health and safety of both mouse and owner.

The Risks and Dangers of Living with Mice

Mice may seem cute and harmless, but they can actually pose a number of risks and dangers if they take up residence in your home. Here is a more in-depth look at the key problems mice can cause.

Disease Transmission

Mice are known carriers of many harmful diseases that can infect humans and pets:


– Rare but deadly viral disease transmitted through contact with mouse droppings, urine, or saliva

– Initial flu-like symptoms can rapidly progress to severe breathing difficulties and organ failure

– 38% mortality rate in the U.S., according to the CDC


– Bacterial infection causing diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps

– Transmitted through contaminated food and surfaces

– Estimated 1.2 million cases annually in the U.S. alone


– Bacterial disease that can lead to liver and kidney damage

– Spread through contact with infected urine

– Rare in humans but more common in dogs

Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCMV)

– Viral infectious disease that can cause fever, headaches, muscle pain

– Usually mild but can be fatal in rare cases

– Spread through saliva, urine, droppings, or bites


– Caused by bacteria transmitted through mites on mice

– Causes fever, headache, rash, and muscle ache

– Not life-threatening but very contagious

Contamination of Food and Surfaces

Mice defecate and urinate constantly wherever they go. Their droppings and urine can contain bacteria, viruses, and parasites. When they get into food prep areas or surfaces, this causes a high risk of cross-contamination and illness in humans.

Structural Property Damage

Mice are prolific chewers and can gnaw through various household materials:

  • Electrical wiring – can cause fires
  • Insulation – ruins thermal insulation value
  • Wood – chew holes in baseboards, flooring, furniture
  • Drywall – chew entry holes into walls and ceilings

Mice tunnels and burrowing can also undermine the structural stability of foundations over time.

Clutter and Fouling of Possessions

Mice often make nests out of any soft materials they can find – shredded paper, fabrics, clothing, etc. They also urinate and defecate on belongings, leaving them smelly and soiled.

Psychological Distress

Living with mice scurrying at all hours and the fear of being bitten can cause:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Inability to relax and sleep
  • Feelings of being “unclean” in your own home

Extensive evidence shows that rodent infestations have measurable detrimental effects on mental health and well-being.

Risk Assessment: The Potential Downsides of Sharing Your House with Mice

If you are considering letting mice remain in your home instead of removing them, carefully weighing the risks and downsides is crucial.

Health Risks

Mice spread many diseases that can be life-threatening in some cases. Exposure is likely over time.

Risk Level: High

Due to close contact and shedding of urine/feces throughout living spaces.

Property Damage

Mice inevitably chew, gnaw, defecate, and make nests anywhere they can.

Risk Level: High

The damage can be extensive and expensive if infestation grows unchecked.

Contamination of Food and Surfaces

Mice walk everywhere and cannot be confined to specific areas.

Risk Level: High

Food prep surfaces and stored food are very likely to become contaminated over time.

Nuisance Factor

Seeing and hearing mice throughout the home is disturbing for most people.

Risk Level: High

Stress, anxiety, lost sleep, and feelings of unease are likely outcomes.

Difficulty Containing Mice

Mice can access almost any space and are skilled climbers.

Risk Level: High

Restricting mice to certain areas of the home is typically not feasible long-term.

Effort Required for Control

Keeping mice in check demands intensive cleaning and management.

Risk Level: High

Daily effort is needed to manage food, tidy clutter, seal holes, and trap mice humanely. An “out of sight, out of mind” approach will likely fail.

Key Considerations for Allowing Mice in Your Home

If you decide to have mice cohabitate in your living space, some essential factors to keep in mind are:

Disease Risk Mitigation

  • Wash hands frequently
  • Disinfect surfaces often
  • Clean up all mouse droppings with gloves
  • Avoid bare skin contact with mouse dens or nests
  • Store food in chew-proof containers
  • See a doctor for any flu-like symptoms to check for hantavirus

Preventing Structural Damage

  • Use wire mesh or metal guards to protect vulnerable wood and wires
  • Frequently inspect walls and foundations for burrowing
  • Seal any holes with steel wool, caulk, or other pest-proof fillers
  • Keep mice away from insulation using wire screens

Containing the Infestation

  • Set traps near entry points to catch newcomers
  • Seal off rooms not needed for nesting/feeding
  • Ensure doors fit tightly and cover gap beneath them
  • Inspect for any overlooked holes allowing passage

Cleanup and Sanitation

  • Remove droppings and nesting materials daily
  • Clean food prep and eating surfaces thoroughly
  • Wash any textiles and clothing mice contact
  • Take out garbage frequently to limit food supply

Coexisting with mice takes dedication. If the required effort becomes overwhelming or the risks seem too high, removing the mice humanely is the best option.

Proper Handling and Care of Pet Mice

While wild mice should generally be excluded from the home, domesticated mice can potentially be kept as pets with the right approach.

Housing Pet Mice

Pet mice need:

  • Large wire cage or tank with plenty of floor space
  • No wire or plastic flooring that could cause injury
  • Deep bedding for burrowing and nesting
  • Places to hide like boxes, tunnels, and huts
  • Lots of toys and objects to climb on and play with
  • Exercise wheel for expending energy

Feeding Pet Mice

Feed mice:

  • Commercial mouse food pellet mix as dietary staple
  • Small amounts of fruits/veggies for variety
  • Fresh clean water available at all times

Avoid too many sugary or starchy treats that can lead to obesity and diabetes.

Handling Pet Mice

  • Tame young mice by hand feeding treats
  • Always scoop up mice gently, never by the tail
  • Supervise playtime outside the cage to prevent escape
  • Wash hands before and after handling mice

Pet Mouse Health and Veterinary Care

  • Find an exotic vet knowledgeable about mice care
  • Schedule annual checkups to monitor for issues
  • Seek prompt treatment for any injuries or illness
  • Keep mice away from other household pets to prevent injury

With proper housing, feeding, handling, and veterinary care, domesticated mice can make enjoyable pet companions.