5 Signs There Are Mice in the Attic: Removal Tips, Safety Concerns and Prevention

Written by Sam Hindman
Updated: October 10, 2023
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There’s no such thing as a fun home infestation, regardless of what creatures are using your household as their personal playground. But arguably, mice are some of the worst to have roaming around your home and wreaking havoc. That’s because their impacts can build over time, and you might not even notice at first. Then, when you do spot the little rodents, it’s already far too late for an easy fix. That’s why in this article, we’ll be going over any telltale signs that there are mice in the attic so that, if you’re concerned, you can handle the problem before it gets too severe.

Why Are Mouse Infestations So Serious?

Mice might look cute, but their behavior and the negative impacts it can have are anything but.


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While mice can seem cute and cuddly, they can cause some serious harm to both you and your home. If you begin to notice that there are signs of mice in the attic, you must understand how detrimental this potential infestation can be.

Firstly, mice are known to transmit some diseases via their droppings, urine, and saliva. For instance, the bacteria found in their feces can cause a type of food poisoning called Salmonellosis. The continued presence of a mouse infestation can also worsen pre-existing health issues like allergies and asthma. Generally speaking, they are just not sanitary.

In addition to the damage they can cause to you, it’s also worth considering the damage they can cause to your home! Mice love to gnaw on important structural parts of your home, like your insulation, to create burrows and nesting sites. This is no joke and can cause long-term damage if left to continue. Not to mention, their tendency to bite through cables and exposed wires can lead to electrical shortages (and even fires, in more severe cases.)

If you notice signs there are mice in your attic in particular, consider all of the valuable things being stored up there. Seasonal clothing and decorations, family heirlooms, and all other precious objects have the potential to be ruined by mouse droppings and urine. In short- you do not want these rodents in your personal space.

Signs There Are Mice in the Attic

1. Unusual Noises

The first potential signs there are mice in the attic are going to be some unusual sounds. These vary, but there are some particular ones that stand out as mouse-specific. For starters, there are the distinguishing scratching and scurrying sounds that mice love to make. Because of the way attics are structured, noises like these are amplified. Pay close attention to any sounds you hear at night because that is when mice are most active.

Another indicative noise is that of chewing and gnawing. This distinctive sound can sometimes get mistaken for other things, so pay close attention whenever you think you hear it. Whatever it is that they’re chewing on, it can’t be good. For that reason, it’s important that you take immediate preventative action to be sure that extensive damage hasn’t already been made.

2. Odd Objects

Mouse Poop vs Rat Poop - Mouse Poop

Mouse poop is pretty easily identifiable, and spotting it is a clear sign that there are mice in your attic.


The next indicator of a mouse infestation is going to be some peculiar physical evidence found around the home. The first of which is, of course, feces. Mouse poop is pretty easily identifiable, as they are small brown pellets found in clusters around the areas in which mice are most active. When you see mouse droppings, you should dispose of them immediately. But try to wear some gloves because mouse feces can contain a lot of things that you don’t want in your body!

Other things that you might find are nesting materials or small objects that the mice use to build their little homes in your walls. These are things like shredded paper, fabrics, or even (unfortunately) your insulation. If you notice a lot of one kind of thing in particular, consider locking it up more securely, as it’s probably the preferred nesting material of the mice.

3. Gnarly Smells

Some of the signs there are mice in the attic are particularly disgusting smells. Mostly, you’re probably smelling the musky odor of mouse urine. In other, more severe infestations, it may be the smell of decomposition. The smell of a deceased mouse is one you won’t soon forget, so it’s important to get rid of it as soon as possible. Like with the fecal matter, take precautions. Wear gloves and possibly a face mask when removing the mouse, and try to disinfect the areas in which you find these things as best as you can.

4. Mouse Sightings

grouf of mice walking in a luxury old-fashioned room, We can see her hole in the background

If you spy a mouse running about, then you can pretty safely say that there’s something nefarious going on.

©Eric Isselee/Shutterstock.com

A pretty obvious infestation sign is seeing one of these creatures running across your floor. Their motions are usually quite quick, and you might only catch them out of the corner of your eye. They are also primarily nocturnal in their movements, so pay close attention at night. Try to avoid direct eye contact with the mice, and don’t try to catch them with your bare hands. But, do try to use their movements as a way to visually track their entry and exit points.

5. Damage to Certain Items

If you take a look up the stairs, there are even more distinguishing signs there are mice in your attic. Mice, inadvertently at times, do a lot of damage. This damage is usually to things like papers, fabrics, or stored food. For the future, try to invest in some mouse-proof storage containers. These help with any items that need more thorough protection. Why you’re at it, try to organize your attic space so that the mice have little room to hide and nest.

Preventing Future Mouse Infestations

House mouse

Sometimes, the best cure for an infestation is preventing it from happening in the first place!


It should first be said that once you identify the signs that there are mice in your attic, it’s important to take action. Set up some traps, but more importantly, get pest control involved. This is especially imperative if you start finding a heavy amount of droppings or deceased mice. But, once this mess has been dealt with, there are some preventative measures you can take to be sure it doesn’t happen ever again.

Secure the Space

You should, for starters, identify and secure possible weak spots. This means that any entryways, holes, or gaps need to be filled. Find some material to temporarily fill these points, and consider getting them fixed professionally.

Commit to Better Storage

It’s important that you make your attic a space that is undesirable for the mice. This means an area with little to do, little accessibility, and little to chew on. Use materials that are considered “rodent-proof,” like heavy-duty plastic and metal. Unfortunately, the cardboard boxes simply won’t do anymore. Also, instead of leaving things to chance over time, check on them periodically. This last bit might sound obvious, but make sure they’re secure. Mice are tricky and could find a way in if things aren’t closed properly!

Try to organize these mouse-proof containers in a strategic way. Minimize small, hidden corners and gaps that could be used as nesting areas. If necessary, just get up there to clean on a regular basis. Reshuffle those stored items so that if there are any mice, they get disturbed.

Use Natural Deterrents

There are a lot of smells that mice can’t stand. Luckily, a lot of these are things that humans find quite pleasant. They include things like lavender and peppermint oil, cinnamon, and citronella. They also hate the smell of ammonia and bleach, but those aren’t suitable in homes that also have small children or pets. If no one but you is really going up into the attic, though, they aren’t a terrible option.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Landshark1/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Sam Hindman is a writer at A-Z animals covering a range of topics, including pet care, plant care, pest control and travel destinations. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Multimedia Studies at Point Park University, set to graduate in the spring of 2024. A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when she isn't writing, she's spending time with her beloved cat Archie.

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