mouse poops and pees in my bed!
Hi all! I'm new to this forum, and up til a few months ago I'd never had anything to do with mice, not even in the house uninvited, which is weird because this region has droves of them. Well, it was only a matter of time before one sneaked into my house, and now I have a mouse guest, who's coming around to at least being friendly.
I have a question, which I'll get to, but first I wanted to tell a bit of our story.
I'm not exactly sure when she got in, but it wasn't long before I was wondering how some paper got shredded and was scattered on the floor. I wondered if it was an animal, and all questions were answered when I found mouse turds on my kitchen counter, holes chewed in a paper bag of potatoes, and tiny teeth marks on a few of the potatoes. I didn't want it getting into my food while I figured out what to do about it, so figuring if she had enough to eat she'd stay out of mine, I started giving her bits of food. Just scraps from whatever I was eating, which she liked. (I didn't know she was a she then, but the two babies that showed up a few weeks later pretty much confirmed it...)
Anyway, I got a humane live catch trap and had decided the best thing would be to take her to our local nature preserve and turn her loose there. Problem was, when I went there to check it out and plan what exactly I was going to do, all I could see was how wet and cold everything was in the woods. That was early November and we get a lot of rain here in the fall, winter and spring. I just couldn't imagine how she'd find a dry place to sleep, and sure enough when I got home and googled it, lots of people said that house mice released in a strange area in winter simply died, and it would be a miserable death at that. If their fur gets wet and they don't have a dry nest, they just won't have any way to keep warm enough. Maybe some mice have super cold-resisting powers, but this made enough sense to me that I didn't want to risk that for this little one. (haha, she was growing on me already!)
My next plan was to use the humane trap to catch her and keep her in a cage over the winter, and then release her in the nature preserve come spring. Problem there was that she's very savvy about traps, and keen on not being caught in one. About this time I was getting the impression that she was getting on in years, and knew a lot about houses. She knew what every room and most of the furnishings and appliances were for. I'd often meet her tearing out of the bathroom as I was going in, or shortly after I sat down on the pot. It was pretty clear she was looking for drips of water from every place she could get into and reach that might have some. All the plumbing in this house had recently been redone and she wouldn't have found a drop anywhere. So I set out a little water dish for her, next to where I left her food, which she drank from and I never ran into her in the bathroom again.
Anyway, I met the babies when I'd set a live catch trap out for her, which she literally peed on and spat on, and refused to go into. But after a couple of days of that, I noticed that something was in it. I'd put a few bits of food and an old ratty wash cloth (so she'd have something to eat and wouldn't get too cold if she went in it at night) in it, and bouncing on the wash cloth inside the trap was a perky little baby mouse! About 3 weeks old, maybe 4. Turned out there was another one hiding in the wash cloth, which I found out when I opened the trap to put the baby in a cage, and the other one jumped out into my office! (Babies' story will have to wait for another post.) I wondered how the babies got in the trap, since it was a long ways from where I'm pretty sure mama's nest was, and some time later the answer occurred to me. Mama pushed them in. I think she knew that this kind of trap is used to take mice outside of the house and dump them out, so what a perfect way to get rid of babies! I kept them in my office with the door closed, and to my surprise, mama seemed so happy to be rid of them. She may have known they were in my office, but she certainly made no attempt to retrieve them, and the vibe I got from her was, "If you want 'em, you can have 'em!", as she went on her merry way as a newly free woman. One of several things that made me think she's quite old, is that maybe she'd already had more babies than she ever wanted in one lifetime.
So there we were, more or less a happy family, except for the baby in the cage. The baby boy running around loose in my office seemed quite happy and even friendly. I feed them all, and it seems we're getting along ok at this point. I'd like to trap the boy baby and get him in a cage, mainly because he makes quite a mess, but he's inherited his mama's wariness of traps and refuses to go into any of the 3 kinds I've bought, even when the only food in the room is in one of them. Mama, of course, refuses to go into any of them too, so that's where we are.
I actually don't have a problem with mama running around loose in the house. She's very tidy and I haven't found anything damaged or a mess that I mind cleaning up. She poops on an old ratty sweater that's very easy to shake out into the compost bucket. The worst thing I can see happening down the road is that come warmer weather she'll go out and get pregnant again, but that's a good 4 months away earliest, and I still have to figure out what I'm going to do with the first two babies.
So now to my question, now that you know a little about the little mistress. Lately she's taken a liking to my bedroom and spends a lot of time in there, all of which was fine with me until she started pooping and peeing in my bed! I've learned everything I know about mice since she took up residence here, and I've read that normally mice are very social and live in communities. I've been trying to figure out why she's pooping and peeing in my bed, and she kept doing it even after I started pulling the blankets up over the sheets (usually I just leave them tossed aside however they landed when I got up), and then she would find little corners of the sheet up next to my pillow to poop and pee on. I've started putting pieces of shipping paper on top of my bed during the day, and I'll see tonight if that worked or not. But I'm really curious what she thinks she's doing, and I'm not quite sure. I know they pee in their own beds, and maybe poop too (I'm not exactly sure where she sleeps), and the only thing that occurs to me is that maybe there's some significance to pooping and peeing in someone else's bed. When a cat does that, it's pure hostility, but as far as I can tell mama is a happy little thing these days, happy to be here, and friendly toward me. At least as friendly as a scrappy old house mouse can be with a human. She'll dance circles around me when I'm cooking dinner, but won't stick around to be given some scraps, (although if I put some on the floor she snatches them after I leave) and she dashes out of the kitchen before I hardly register she's there. The only thing I can think of is that maybe when mice live in communities, pooping and peeing in someone else's bed means something. Affection, friendship, maybe even (gasp) ownership! I'm real curious if any of you know of this behavior and what it means.
Last edited by dmars; 01-05-2016 at 08:30 PM.
Reason: readability & minor additions