Does Light Affect the Behavior of Mice?

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Got mice? It's one thing to keep a couple of these cute critters as pets in a cage, but it's quite another to have to deal with small rodents running in your house and garden. Understanding the nature of these petite creatures is the first step toward eradicating mice from the home, and this starts with their preferred habitat as well as what they eat and how they're getting inside your abode. Since mice are nocturnal and prefer to live and breed in the comfort of darkness, bright light and the removal of hidden nesting spots might be the solution.


Light does affect the behavior of mice.
Image Credit: Oxford Scientific/Photodisc/Getty Images

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Small rodents and their behavior

Mice and rats like dark and cozy places to hide away and build their nests, so don't be surprised if these tiny creatures take up residence in the back of an overstuffed couch or even in your bed if you spend a stretch of time away from home. The fix is to check these spots often (shine a light if you can't see well), and this way, you might scare away pesky mice. You might also seek out entry points in and around the house in case there are holes or cracks that could be plugged up.


Mice are nocturnal by nature

Creeping around under the cover of darkness is just the way mice operate, which means it's normal to wake up in the morning and find that someone has nibbled on the pound cake you left on the counter. Since mice prefer low-lit places, like your kitchen cabinets and under-sink area, spotting mouse droppings there is also to be expected. Mouse repellent for these hot spots means removing all access to food sources and placing food in containers that feature tight seals.


Natural mice repellent tips

There are some easy and effective ways you can deter mice from visiting your home and garden rather than resorting to toxic poisons. Some smart ways to keep mice at bay include:


  • Sweep away crumbs:​ Keep floors and counters clean of any food bits and tie up garbage well.

  • Rake the yard:​ That apple tree on your lawn is actually a mouse buffet. Rake up fruit and old veggies from the garden and keep your grass short to prevent mice from eating and nesting.

  • Store wood separately:​ Sure, it's handy to have firewood close to the house, but woodpiles are primo real estate for mice. Instead, house it in a shed or bin away from your home.

  • Stash pet food​: This one's a hard habit to break for those who leave the dog's dish of kibble out all the time. However, since mice emerge at night and nibble on these pellets, it's best to store your pet's meal in the fridge when he's not dining.

  • Shine a light:​ Remember that mice don't love brightness, so get low to the ground and take a look with a flashlight to determine where mice are entering and how to close holes. You might also set up a strobe light in certain hotspots for mouse activity to scare them away.

  • Consider ammonia:​ Rags or cotton balls soaked in ammonia smell bad to small rodents. Place these wet items where you've seen mouse droppings and in cracks where they enter.


If all of your mouse repellent efforts haven't yielded the results you'd hoped for, live-trap or cage-type devices are the humane way to catch mice and rats. Check the traps hourly and then release the rodents within 100 yards of where they were captured.