Several recent studies have shown that mice are able to influence the behavior of predators higher up the food chain. This means that even if you do not know you have mice, you could have beacons entering and leaving your house that may be attracting predatory birds, badgers, cats, and more.
Mice give off high-frequency alarm calls when they sense a predator nearby; these warning calls cause other mice in the area to freeze, reducing their chances of being caught. However, research has shown that the warning calls of mice may not be as effective at protecting them from predators as was previously thought. This is because they can trigger aggressive behaviors in bigger animals with better hearing. Researchers found that when larger animals heard mouse warning signals, they would often search for and attack any rodents hiding nearby. This was seen commonly in badgers, which use their powerful jaws to dig rodents out of their burrows. It was also common in domestic cats, many of which are well known for their love of hunting mice.
Mice are considered to be the primary prey for a wide range of other animals, including foxes, coyotes, housecats, and sparrowhawks. However, the study shows that they may have more influence on predators than previously believed.
Badgers search for rodents using their sense of smell, so mice give off warning signals when they pick up a predator’s scent. However, these alarm calls were shown to attract other badgers within hearing range, leading to more energetic searching behavior and increased risk of being caught for any rodents that didn’t flee immediately. This newly discovered phenomenon could have consequences for how we manage predator and prey interactions.
If you see one mouse, there is nearly a 100% chance that there are more very close by. Having mice on your property can lead to much larger problems. Instead of thinking that a mouse is not going to cause much damage, you need to remove them. Even if the mouse is not damaging your home, having big predators nearby is always a danger. Call us here at Mice Mob Exterminators to find out more!