Here is a surprising fact: the house mouse behaves just like a shark. Really? Well, yes. And it’s a key reason why the only sensible way to keep out mice is through effective mouse proofing.
It may seem strange that a tiny mouse can be likened to one of the biggest creatures of the deep, but the science tells us that is absolutely the case. Okay, the two animals are clearly not so similar that you could combine a mouse with a shark to create a…shouse! But there are striking similarities in their behaviour.
SUPERPROOFTM mouse behaviour experts say the reason is because both mice and sharks are olfactory creatures. That is, smell is one of their most dominant and important senses, while sight is not.
A SUPERPROOF expert says: “Think about it – mice are largely nocturnal, so need a way of getting around in the dark, and sharks live in the sea, often at great depth, where light is limited.
“Therefore, both have found ways to navigate their way around very effectively without the need to rely on sight. They use smell instead. This very much informed the way we go about our work to SUPERPROOFTM homes to mice can’t get in them.
“Because we know that mice use their sense smell, one of our main jobs is to disrupt their ability to smell through gaps and cavities. In effect, we are not trying to stop them seeing holes, we are trying to stop them smelling them.”
As a shark moves around in the ocean, it uses its astonishing sense of smell to locate and move in on prey. A shark’s nostrils on the underside of its snout are used for smelling only, not breathing. Water flows in and dissolved chemicals come into contact with olfactory receptors.
The lemon shark can detect tuna oil at one part per 25 million of water, equivalent to about 10 drops in a 10m swimming pool. Other species can detect one part per 10 billion, one drop in an Olympic swimming pool.
These concentrations of chemicals can be detected from several hundred meters away, depending on currents.
A SUPERPROOF mouse behaviour expert says: “Mice also use their sense of smell to navigate through the nooks and crannies in your home. Their smell is supported by extremely sensitive whiskers, used to detect air currents and assess the size of cavities.
“Just like a shark, the mouse has a big head, with a long snout. This is positioned well ahead of its feet. Mice really do follow their noses, to find food and to avoid danger.
“Humans, on the other hand, use their eyes more, positioned at the front of their faces. Then they feel things with their hands to test them, feel what they are, and assess if they’re useful. Our sense of smell is much more important to taste than deciding where we should go.”
This understanding is vital to the way SUPERPROOFTM works to get rid of mice in homes by mouse proofing properties.
Our specially-trained mouse proofing technicians only use materials that block a mouse’s sense of smell, as well as physically barring their way.
For example, there is no point using expanding foam to block holes and mouse proof a property, because air can pass through holes in the product, so mice can still smell what is on the other side. Then, because the foam is weak, they can just gnaw their way through.
SUPERPROOF experts say: “We use products that properly seal every hole. A mouse may use a hole one day to get into your bedroom of kitchen. We then come along and mouse proof the hole with our special materials.
“The next night, the mouse comes along again and can’t smell the hole. It’s as if it was never there. So it doesn’t even try to nibble his or her way through.
“What is important though, and this is the difference with SUPERPROOFTM, is that every hole and potential hole has to be blocked. If you mouse proof just one way to get in and out, the mouse will just go and sniff out another one.”
But just how good a sense of smell does a mouse have? Well, studies are not 100% conclusive, but one puts mice at No 6 in a chart of the World’s Top 10 Sniffers, with 1,130 olfactory receptor genes.
This compares with humans having 396 olfactory genes, and elephants, named as having the world’s most sensitive nose (and among the biggest), with 1,498 OR genes. The rat was not far behind in second, with 1,207.
But other studies differ, maybe because they use different measures. One claims bears have the best sense of smell, seven times better than a blood hound and 2,100 times better than a human.
Whatever the case, it is clear that mice and rats use their sense of smell to navigate their way around their habitats. The only way to make sure that habitat does not include your property is to carry out effective mouse proofing and rat proofing. Which means calling SUPERPROOFTM.
That way you can keep their noses out of where they don’t belong.