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  #1  
Old 06-03-2010, 10:35 AM
Fritz Fritz is offline
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What Are These Pest Droppings?

Photos here.

The ruler in the photos is metric and the droppings are 4-5 mm in length and dark brown/black in color.

Rodent/mouse? Bug? Reptile?

I've been finding these in my mostly-unfinished basement, usually on a bed that gets used once a week. The basement contains no food sources (other than other insects) and except for the one or two nights that the bed gets used, the basement is usually quiet and little human activity.

At first I assumed that these were mouse droppings left by the critters scampering over the bed, and I set glue/sticky traps ("Home Defense Max") and mechanical ("d-Con", baited with peanut butter) traps on the bed, along the baseboards around the bed, and all over the basement, and have never caught anything.

Then I figured that mouse critters were traveling over the uncovered fiberglass bat insulation in the ceiling (upstairs floor joists) and simply dropping their gifts from above, so I set some glue traps on top of the fiberglass bats. Result? Nothing.

Now I'm thinking that maybe mouse traps are not working because it's not mice that are leaving the droppings, but I'm stumped and Google has been no help in identifying the droppings.

We do have *shudder* scorpions here in rural Georgia, and snakes and lizards.

Anybody have any ideas?
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  #2  
Old 06-03-2010, 10:45 AM
Teacake Teacake is online now
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Do you have geckos?
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  #3  
Old 06-03-2010, 10:49 AM
Phlosphr Phlosphr is offline
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That is Mouse Scat. It could be old and thatis why you are not catching anything, they may have moved outside after the winter months...but nonetheless that is Mouse Scat. If you google it you'll see...
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  #4  
Old 06-03-2010, 10:50 AM
Fritz Fritz is offline
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Originally Posted by Teacake View Post
Do you have geckos?
Not that I've seen. We do have skinks like this one all over the place, though.
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  #5  
Old 06-03-2010, 10:51 AM
Happy Fun Ball Happy Fun Ball is online now
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Looks like mice to me.
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  #6  
Old 06-03-2010, 10:51 AM
Fritz Fritz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlosphr View Post
That is Mouse Scat. It could be old and thatis why you are not catching anything, they may have moved outside after the winter months...but nonetheless that is Mouse Scat. If you google it you'll see...
It's not old at all. I clean these off the bed every time I see them, and they are back in a day or two. The ones shown in the photos are no more than two days old.
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  #7  
Old 06-03-2010, 10:52 AM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Looks like mouse droppings to me, not surprised that you haven't caught any yet. Might need to put out something tasty as bait. ETA: I see you've tried peanut butter; it's a cliche but maybe cheese?

I guess it could be something else but I've never actually seen snake shit.

Last edited by CookingWithGas; 06-03-2010 at 10:53 AM..
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  #8  
Old 06-03-2010, 10:56 AM
Fritz Fritz is offline
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
Looks like mouse droppings to me, not surprised that you haven't caught any yet. Might need to put out something tasty as bait. ETA: I see you've tried peanut butter; it's a cliche but maybe cheese?

I guess it could be something else but I've never actually seen snake shit.
The Home Defense Max sticky traps are not to be baited (though I have tried a bit of peanut butter in the center of them), and the d-Con traps were baited with peanut butter. Perhaps these are mice, but they sure are hard to catch...

Nope - I haven't tried cheese. I always heard that peanut butter was better.

Last edited by Fritz; 06-03-2010 at 10:57 AM..
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  #9  
Old 06-03-2010, 10:56 AM
mozchron mozchron is offline
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Definitely mice.

Also, thanks for the scale bar and coin - I get asked to ID insects, droppings etc... all the time, and its amazing how often people fail to do that. Without a scale comparison, I have no idea whether the object is question is 1mm or 3 feet long.

Last edited by mozchron; 06-03-2010 at 10:58 AM..
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  #10  
Old 06-03-2010, 11:01 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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OP, it's within the realm of possibility that they both 1) are old AND 2) are showing up anew on the bed. Could they be falling out of something overhead? Loose rafters or ceiling tiles?

Just because there are no food sources (that you know of) doesn't mean your basement doesn't provide mice with water and/or shelter. You're in Georgia, right? Well, here in TX the heat is starting to ramp up, so if it's hot where you are, too, maybe they're looking for a cool place during the day? Also, mice stash food, so they could be bringing the munchy supplies in with them.
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  #11  
Old 06-03-2010, 11:08 AM
Fritz Fritz is offline
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Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
OP, it's within the realm of possibility that they both 1) are old AND 2) are showing up anew on the bed. Could they be falling out of something overhead? Loose rafters or ceiling tiles?

Just because there are no food sources (that you know of) doesn't mean your basement doesn't provide mice with water and/or shelter. You're in Georgia, right? Well, here in TX the heat is starting to ramp up, so if it's hot where you are, too, maybe they're looking for a cool place during the day? Also, mice stash food, so they could be bringing the munchy supplies in with them.
Standard fiberglass batts, and I did place traps above those. When I did that, I looked for any evidence of mice or more droppings and didn't see anything on or in the batts.

Good point about the food stashing. Yes, it's getting pretty hot here in Georgia.

Hmm - I guess I'll try a different bait. Peanut butter is not working...
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  #12  
Old 06-03-2010, 11:13 AM
Fritz Fritz is offline
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Originally Posted by mozchron View Post
Definitely mice.

Also, thanks for the scale bar and coin - I get asked to ID insects, droppings etc... all the time, and its amazing how often people fail to do that. Without a scale comparison, I have no idea whether the object is question is 1mm or 3 feet long.
OK - thanks. I'll keep trying to catch mice.
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  #13  
Old 06-03-2010, 11:14 AM
johnpost johnpost is online now
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they are mouse turds.

unless the mice have a good food and water source in the house they probably don't live in the house during warmer weather. if you clean the area above so that old turds don't drop and the surface and then see fresh turds then they are likely living in your house. if they live in the house you will likely see them at night (they have pink eyeballs that you can see in very low light, and you can see them dart about especially at wall or object edges [they don't like running in the open]). if they are living in your house then they will be kill-able with peanut butter snap traps placed at wall edges. they would also be poison-able with the peanut composed baits placed along walls or in the ceiling insulation, don't use the baits without a bait station where you have small children or grain eating animals; the baits cause them to get thirsty before they die and they will seek water outside the house if you don't have their drinking source inside. snap traps have the advantage of you know where they are when they are dead, baits have the advantage of you're likely not having to come by the animal again and they are lower maintenance.

it may take time for traps or baits if they aren't in a regular path they take. both snap traps and baits are better than glue traps for effectiveness and maintenance.
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  #14  
Old 06-03-2010, 11:19 AM
Fritz Fritz is offline
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Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
they are mouse turds.

unless the mice have a good food and water source in the house they probably don't live in the house during warmer weather. if you clean the area above so that old turds don't drop and the surface and then see fresh turds then they are likely living in your house. if they live in the house you will likely see them at night (they have pink eyeballs that you can see in very low light, and you can see them dart about especially at wall or object edges [they don't like running in the open]). if they are living in your house then they will be kill-able with peanut butter snap traps placed at wall edges. they would also be poison-able with the peanut composed baits placed along walls or in the ceiling insulation, don't use the baits without a bait station where you have small children or grain eating animals; the baits cause them to get thirsty before they die and they will seek water outside the house if you don't have their drinking source inside. snap traps have the advantage of you know where they are when they are dead, baits have the advantage of you're likely not having to come by the animal again and they are lower maintenance.

it may take time for traps or baits if they aren't in a regular path they take. both snap traps and baits are better than glue traps for effectiveness and maintenance.
Snap traps, eh? I haven't tried those yet. Any favorite baits? Cheese like Swiss, or something more stinky?

Last edited by Fritz; 06-03-2010 at 11:22 AM..
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  #15  
Old 06-03-2010, 11:22 AM
Phlosphr Phlosphr is offline
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Post Script: If you have a lot of insects, this could be attracting the mice as well. Many people think they eat only grains and seeds, however, mice are voracious killers [of some insects] and it is possible they are entering the house for the protein in the insects. It is a longshot but it could happen. If they are not taking the normal bait it could mean many different things.
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  #16  
Old 06-03-2010, 11:26 AM
Fritz Fritz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlosphr View Post
Post Script: If you have a lot of insects, this could be attracting the mice as well. Many people think they eat only grains and seeds, however, mice are voracious killers [of some insects] and it is possible they are entering the house for the protein in the insects. It is a longshot but it could happen. If they are not taking the normal bait it could mean many different things.
Also a good point. We don't have a lot of insects, but it's impossible to keep them all out. I don't tolerate spiders, and I was ready to burn the house down to its foundations when we saw scorpions.
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  #17  
Old 06-03-2010, 11:28 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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If peanut butter isn't working, you might try cloth or cotton balls. I have heard that mice want it for nesting material. I had a stored hammock ruined by mice looking for nest material.


Or you might try bread or grains or something for a food bait.
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:33 AM
johnpost johnpost is online now
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Originally Posted by Fritz View Post
Snap traps, eh? I haven't tried those yet. Any favorite baits?
chunky peanut butter with a chunk or two wedged under the hook on the trigger before putting a small amount of peanut butter on top. don't put a large amount there because they might eat their fill without pressing hard enough to dislodge the trigger. creamy peanut butter they might just lick off. set the trigger right on the edge, practice getting the point it just holds (if you keep your thumb over the bar as you set the trigger with the other hand then you won't get snapped).

in a cramped or spongy surface like on top of insulation batts the bait might be better because the snap trap may not trigger.
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:54 AM
Happy Fun Ball Happy Fun Ball is online now
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The mice in my house would clean the peanut butter off the snap traps without setting them off. I then used salami coated in peanut butter tied to the trap with a string; this has been very successful for me. It seems that every November we get a mouse or two moving into our house. We have also used the live traps with mixed success. These make my daughters happier, but I have much better luck with the snap traps so if I do not catch the mouse in a day or two I will switch over.

I think the key is that you have to place the trap where the mouse goes. If you are regularly cleaning scat from a location, this would be a good area to place the trap. If you are just placing the traps in a corner of the room, it may take some time for them to discover it. At least this seems to be the case for me.
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  #20  
Old 06-03-2010, 11:58 AM
MsWhatsit MsWhatsit is offline
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Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
chunky peanut butter with a chunk or two wedged under the hook on the trigger before putting a small amount of peanut butter on top. don't put a large amount there because they might eat their fill without pressing hard enough to dislodge the trigger. creamy peanut butter they might just lick off. set the trigger right on the edge, practice getting the point it just holds (if you keep your thumb over the bar as you set the trigger with the other hand then you won't get snapped).

in a cramped or spongy surface like on top of insulation batts the bait might be better because the snap trap may not trigger.
Excellent advice; I would only add to make sure to place the snap trap perpendicular to the wall, flush against it. Mice run along the edges of walls, and so if you put the trap far from the wall you're less likely to catch them. Check the traps daily and re-bait if necessary.
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  #21  
Old 06-03-2010, 12:07 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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After hearing that mice will avoid traps if they have the scent of human handling, I wore gloves when setting traps. In a small sampling, I found the traps more successful when gloves were used. Maybe there is something to that.
Also, does anyone know why mice eat the insulation on electrical wires? I've seen the evidence of this several times.
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  #22  
Old 06-03-2010, 01:56 PM
johnpost johnpost is online now
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Originally Posted by ed malin View Post
After hearing that mice will avoid traps if they have the scent of human handling, I wore gloves when setting traps. In a small sampling, I found the traps more successful when gloves were used. Maybe there is something to that.
Also, does anyone know why mice eat the insulation on electrical wires? I've seen the evidence of this several times.
mice don't seem to be as bothered by human scent, rats sure are bothered.

the plastic has a sweet taste.
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  #23  
Old 06-03-2010, 05:26 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Originally Posted by ed malin View Post
Also, does anyone know why mice eat the insulation on electrical wires? I've seen the evidence of this several times.
Mice will eat damn near anything. I've had them eat my bath soap.
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  #24  
Old 06-03-2010, 11:01 PM
Little Cloud Little Cloud is offline
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I moved into a newly built building that had a serious mouse problem. We tried all kinds of traps and baits and placements but those droppings continued unabated even though we caught a few mice a week. We finally opted for the definitive treatment - we got a cat. Within 2 weeks we were completely mouse-free and have remained so. If all else fails...
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  #25  
Old 06-04-2010, 01:05 AM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Not necessarily mouse droppings. Could also be roach droppings. They look identical except roach droppings will have horizontal lines on them.
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