Summary: Everyone is concerned about mouse droppings, but we need to also be aware of mouse urine.
We've been trying to catch a mouse for three weeks now . I set up some mouse/rat poison in the house because the mouse traps arent working. This morning my husband walked into our three year old's room and there was a rat just sitting in the middle of the floor by my child's toys. Should I be concerned about the rat harming my son while he sleeps and should I throw those toys away?
Ask the Exterminator says:
No need to go into full panic mode, but you should be doubling your efforts to catch that rat. Your note said you were trying to catch a mouse, but your husband observed a rat. So, which is it? You cannot catch an adult rat using a mouse trap. Also, I would be a lot more concerned about the rat poison than I would the rodent droppings.
Rodents are known to pouch their food. That means they chew off bits of food and stuff it in their cheek pouches to take it back to their nest. As they travel along they often drop bits of food from their mouths. If they have stuffed their cheeks with rodent poison they could be dropping pieces of the poison on the floor or on surfaces where they move, including the floor in your child's room. Rodent poison is often colored red, blue or green. That colorful piece of rodent poison could easily attract the attention of a toddler.
As far as the toys are concerned, I would just wash them in hot, soapy water as you would your dishes. Sweep up any rodent droppings you discover and discard them in the trash. Only certain rodents carry the hantavirus disease. Deer mice, cotton rats, rice rats and the white-footed mouse can carry the disease, but none of these rodents commonly enter homes. They all prefer woodlands or marshy areas.
You need to figure out how the rodent got inside and seal the hole using a product like Xcluder. This product is inexpensive and easy to use. If you need to put out snap traps where children are present you should think about a device called a multi-catch trap. This device allows the rodent to enter, but not escape and it can catch up to a dozen rodents at a time.
Okay, so you've taken care of all the details. The rodent droppings have been swept up. But, what about the rodent urine. You can't see it, but rodents constantly lay down a trail of urine as they investigate a room. Every surface they walk on has drops of urine contamination. I suggest you purchase a blacklight flashlight. Rodent urine is phosphorescent, so under a blacklight it will show up nice and white. That will quickly tell you what needs to be cleaned.
Here, you've been worried about rodent fecal droppings, while you should have been focused on a whole other problem.