What Does Mouse Poop Look Like? Identify Rodent Droppings What Does Mouse Poop Look Like? Identify Rodent Droppings

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What Do Mouse Droppings Look Like & What To Do If You Find Them

By: Rita Stadler

Seeing a mouse in the house is upsetting, but finding out that a rodent infestation has been lurking in your home for a long time is even worse. Knowing how to identify the signs of a pest problem will help you prevent infestations and keep your home pest-free.

Finding mouse droppings is one of the most obvious ways to discover you have a problem in your home. We discuss what their poop looks like, the dangers of mouse poop in your home, and what to do once you discover the issue.

Is There a Rodent in Your Home?

Before you see an actual mouse, you may notice signs of them — but if you don’t know what to look for, you may miss the signs! From “mice rice,” to “droppings,” knowing how to identify mouse poop can give you a head start when it comes to preventing these infestations from happening in your house.

Recognizing and being able to identify rodent droppings will give you the chance to clean up their poop properly. This will help prevent disease in your home and assist in getting rid of them before the problem gets out of hand. The dangers include many diseases that can be spread through their feces — from salmonella to Hantavirus — so cleaning up after an infestation is especially important.

What Does Mouse Poop Look Like?

Mouse droppings look similar to a grain of rice, ranging in size from 3/16 to ¼ inch long. The pieces typically have pointed ends and a color varying from blackish brown to gray depending on how old it is and the diet of the mouse.

Fresh droppings are black, they turn brown over the next week, and change to grey over time. If a rodent has consumed pesticide from a bait station, the droppings may be the same color as the bait. Older droppings will crumble upon contact, while fresh ones will be soft and malleable (never touch with your bare hands).

Mice can leave behind 50-75 pellets per day. The number and size of droppings you see can help you determine the severity and type of pest problem you are facing. These critters will poop while they are moving, so droppings will be seen along the paths they travel and in the places where they are finding food. They may poop near their nest, but they will not go to the bathroom in their actual nest — believe it or not, they like to keep their homes clean!

Does Mouse Poop Smell?

While the droppings may not have any noticeable smell, mouse urine has a distinct ammonia smell. They have very poor eyesight, but a highly developed sense of smell. They can gather information from the scents left behind by rodent waste, such as where to find food and what areas to avoid. While you may not be able to find their droppings by smell, you may notice an ammonia smell from the urine they leave behind, and you can be certain it is the work of more than one of them.


What Do Rat Droppings Look Like?

Although identifying droppings is a good way to figure out what kind of pest problem you have, it can be confusing. Rodent infestations can be the result of house mice, deer mice, roof rats, Norway rats, and even squirrels or raccoons.

Rat poop is generally the same shape as mouse feces with pointed ends, has a similar black/brown color, but they are larger. They are usually about a ½ inch in size, so that’s the best way to differentiate them. Squirrel droppings are similar in shape, but a little larger and thicker. Raccoon poop is more similar in appearance to a small dog’s poop.

How to Get Rid of The Droppings

After you’ve identified rodent droppings, you have to get rid of them. They are not just unsightly, they can also spread diseases. You must follow safety precautions when cleaning up mouse droppings. Take this advice from the CDC:

  • Air out the space for 30 minutes before cleaning if possible.
  • Wear rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves and a mask or respirator.
  • Use a disinfectant spray (DIY by mixing 1 part bleach to 10 parts water) and soak area for 5 minutes.
  • Clean area with disposable rags or paper towels.
  • Put waste in a sealed plastic bag in a covered trash can.

It is especially important to avoid sweeping or vacuuming areas where mice have been until after these steps have been completed. Sweeping or vacuuming can cause germs to circulate in the air; if you inhale any pathogens from rodents, you could become seriously ill.

Cleaning up after these pests is not an activity you want to repeat, so take time to inspect the area for potential entry points they may use to come inside. They can enter through an opening that is smaller than a dime, and can easily chew through foam insulation, wood, and plastic. If you notice any cracks around doors, kitchen cabinets, or window frames, or open space where pipes, cables, and utility lines pass through the wall, block the openings with steel wool. Use silicone caulk to fill in cracks and gaps. 

Make the area less attractive to household pests by cleaning up any available food sources such as dirty dishes, uncovered trash cans, or unattended pet food. Clear clutter so mice have fewer places to hide, and consider using a rodent repellent to prevent this from happening again. 


  1. Rita Stadler

    HI Tabitha,

    I’m sorry to hear about your situation, it sounds very stressful. Since mice use scent to find their way and mark their territory, it’s not surprising that there may be many spots of mouse urine in an area, even if there are no droppings present. You can use a black light to detect the areas that need to be cleaned. Please be sure to follow the CDC guidelines to protect yourself from rodent related diseases.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Steven cip

    Yes, Hi was wondering if the things you see advertised on line that you plug in your walls and send a line of Soundwave work?

    1. Chanel C

      Hey Steven,
      That’s a great question! Ultrasonic repellers have become very popular, but their efficacy is unproven and their reviews are mixed. They also have limitations as far as the spaces they can be used in.

      You may want to check out this article that takes a closer look at ultrasonic repellers: https://www.earthkind.com/knowledge-base/pest-library/ultrasonic-mouse-repellers/

      Thanks for reading!

    2. Erickav

      I purchased one and put it right above my dog’s food dish- found mouse droppings in there 2 days later, so I’d say they don’t work. 🙂 I also have one in my garage and Living Room and they don’t seem to have deterred entry at all

      1. Rita Stadler

        Hi there,

        We are so sorry to hear our products didn’t perform to your expectations! Please contact us by calling (800) 583-2921 Monday–Friday, 8:00–4:30 EST or emailing customercare@www.earthkind.com anytime so we can arrange for a refund and/or replacement.

        Thank you for letting us know!

  • Felix

    We trapped a mouse in the garage last week, haven’t caught any since. I found a black speck on the play rug today though, and I squeezed it with a paper towel. It was hard and it flattened a little, but left green imprints on the paper towel. We have not used any poison. Does this sound like a true dropping? There are crumbs in many other places (hard to keep up with a toddler) but there have been no droppings around anywhere else in the house…

    1. Chanel C

      Hello Felix!
      Since rodents have no control over their bladder or bowels, finding just one dropping is unusual if you have a mouse on your hands. But if it was in fact a mouse dropping that you found, black coloration would mean it was fresh. Keep an eye out for other signs of a mouse, particularly more droppings, around your home and take as many precautions as possible to discourage these unwanted houseguests.
      Start by taking the time to make sure you’ve blocked off any potential entry points, sealed up any cracks (mice can squeeze through alarmingly small holes), and properly store any food that may attract pests as best as you can (we get it, toddlers are pretty much full-time crumb-makers!). If you notice activity in a specific area, a few pouches of Fresh Cab is a great deterrent.
      It’s really hard to say for sure whether it was a dropping that you found without seeing it personally, but we hope these tips help! And when it doubt, don’t hesitate to call a local pest control professional for their opinion!
      Good luck!

  • Farah

    We found somethinhvcrwling towards bathroom so my husband brought a box from garage ro protect other area and we found a mouse in that box ,we put traps and caught a mouse but we couldnt find the other thing,now i see mouse like droppings in a room and closet which we sealed from foil ,we have been keeping traps daily in that area but could trapped anything .please advise as i have a toddler and preschooler in my house.

    1. Chanel C

      Hello Farah,
      We are sorry to hear about your uninvited houseguest! We would recommend getting rid of the baited traps as you don’t want to feed or attract the pest in question! If you are unable to identify the droppings as mouse droppings, when in doubt, it’s best to consult a local Pest Control Pro or County Coop Extension Office for identification help. If you do find that you are having problems with mice, please review the CDC guidelines for cleaning up rodent droppings to make sure you are protecting yourself from diseases transmitted by rats and mice. We also recommend Fresh Cab which has protected farms and families since 1995. An alternative with a lighter scent would be Stay Away Mice, which is perfect for use in your living spaces. Thanks for reading and please let us know how things turn out!

  • Natalie

    Should you move all your furniture to check for droppings..seems like too much, but what if you find a ton when you move?

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi Natalie,

      Moving all of the furniture in search of signs of mice can be a lot of work, but it may be necessary. You can certainly start small, looking for signs of mice in other areas that require less effort, such as chewed up materials like cardboard, or greasy rub marks low along the walls. If you see these signs of mice, you should investigate further by looking under and behind furniture and appliances. If you do see mouse droppings, please make sure to follow CDC guidelines for cleaning them up and protecting yourself from diseases transmitted by rodents. Once you’ve identified the problem areas and cleaned up the mess, make sure to protect your home from reinfestation with our botanical rodent repellent.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Joy

    I saw a small mound of fluff on my floor. When I picked it up, it crumbled like ash in my fingers. It was near my stove & I’m scared it was old mouse poop. What should I do?

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi Joy,

      Well, I’ve never heard mouse poop described as “fluff” so it’s possible you’re dealing with something else — a dust bunny maybe? There’s nothing wrong with being cautious though, so please take a moment to review the CDC guidelines for cleaning up after rodents and then keep a pouch of botanical rodent repellent in the area to make sure mice stay away.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Pamela

    For the past month I have been struggling with a mouse problem. We caught one mouse and then a week later we caught another one. It’s now been 3 weeks and haven’t since seen another one. But we now found mouse droppings behind my couch and under my kitchen sink. They were hard, black and crumbled when I applied pressure to it. I’m not sure if this is from before or if it’s a new mouse. We haven’t heard anything unusual and the traps are still up and nothing has been caught.

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi Pamela,

      I’m sorry to hear about your situation. Mice can be very sneaky and very persistent; they may have figured out how to avoid your traps, or found an alternate food source. For proven protection, we recommend keeping a pouch of botanical rodent repellent anywhere you have seen signs of mice. The pouches will repel any mice that are in the area and prevent reinfestation for about 30 days. Replace the pouches when their scent has diminished.

      Thanks for reading!

      1. Antoinette s

        How do mice go away with just this pouch? Do they know where they came in, so they can go back outside?

        1. Chanel C

          Hey Antoinette,
          That’s a great question! Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent pouches are made with a blend of plant fiber and botanical extracts that, while pleasant for you, will offend rodents. Simply place pouches in enclosed spaces to immediately start controlling your rodent problem. Because rodents have notably poor eyesight, they have a heightened sense of smell to compensate. Fresh Cab overwhelms rodents’ highly developed sense of smell and has been proven to trigger avoidance behavior and repel them. Mice and rats won’t nest or congregate in areas where they can’t smell a predator coming, or if the safety of their offspring is endangered. So they will make their way out to a safer environment, and you get back your peace of mind.
          Thanks for reading!

  • Ana

    Found mice droppings throughout my garage & it was all over boxes out clothes, furniture etc. I will probably throw out the loveseat that was there but as far as clothing, after safely removing the droppings, can I wash the clothes amd it will be safe? Or should I also dispose of the clothing and pretty much anything I found that had their droppings on it?

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi Ana,
      So sorry to hear about your situation! You can protect yourself from disease and clean up the mess without having to throw everything out. Per the CDC instructions:
      -Steam clean or shampoo upholstered furniture and carpets with evidence of rodent exposure.
      -Wash any bedding and clothing with laundry detergent in hot water if exposed to rodent urine or droppings.
      Please make sure to sign up for our newsletter so you’ll get special offers and discounts to prevent future infestations.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Mike

    My cats we’re hanging out in front of the stove last week and sure enough a mouse run out from under the stove and went under my dish washer. I have the kind of dish washer the you hooeup to the kitchen faucet. I put out some electronic traps on the side and back of the dishwasher along the wall I also put traps behind and next to my stove and next to the refrigerator as well I also have rodent repellent bags under all the appliances in the kitchen etc. I have not seen any droppings anywhere and there are no droppings under or inside of the dishwasher. Is it possible that it left?

    1. Rita Stadler

      Hi Mike!

      It certainly is possible the mice have moved on. Keeping a cat and using rodent repellent pouches should strongly discourage rodent activity. You can also inspect the walls, windows and doors in the area to make sure there are no openings rodents might use to get inside. Pay special attention along the foundation of the building outside, and around plumbing, cable and electrical lines that pass through the walls.
      Generally speaking, we do not recommend using traps because many of them contain some type of bait or attractant to lure mice in. Taking steps to block rodent entry points and removing any food sources mice might have such as uncovered trash bins or a dish of pet food that is always full will help to prevent mice. Adding the proven protection of our rodent repellent should make sure your home stays mouse free.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Mister Gengar

    So we 100% have mice, we can hear them in the walls at night and very rarely see them inside. We get mice once every few years and we end up trapping a lot of them and eventually the problem sorts itself out. I was cleaning my computer desk and found tiny black pellets that I’m not certain if they’re mice droppings. These things were hard as rock and would not crumble under strong pressure, I put on gloves and tried to crack or break them between my nails and they didn’t budge at all. Was this just maybe some old food or is it poop?

    1. Mildred Montalvo

      Hello Mister Gengar,

      Thank you for reaching out. Old mice droppings will crumble upon contact. I am listing below a few details that will help you identify mice droppings. You can also share pictures with us via social media; make sure to tag us @earthkindinc.

      · Ranges in size from 3/16 to ¼ inch long — similar to a grain of rice, with pointed ends
      · Color varying from blackish brown to gray depending on how old it is and the diet of the mouse
      · Fresh droppings are black, turning brown over the next week, and changing to grey over time
      · If a rodent has consumed pesticide from a bait station, the droppings may be the same color as the bait
      · Older rodent droppings will crumble upon contact, while fresh droppings will be soft and malleable (never touch droppings with your bare hands)
      · Mice can leave behind 50-75 pellets per day. The number and size of droppings you see can help you determine the severity and type of pest problem you are facing

      Please note that the CDC does not recommend sweeping or vacuuming mouse droppings without following the prescribed steps so it is important that you take the necessary precautions.

      We recommend FreshCab to keep them away from your home.

      Thank you for reading!

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