Tips of the Month
How to Deal with Mice and Other Pests
Cold weather is when mice and rats try to get indoors. While mice may be cute, they are destructive and can eat through electric wiring. Their droppings can be toxic, in addition to being gross. If you see a mouse or rat in your house, you have a problem you need to deal with. Rodents reproduce fast. So, if you see one, there’s most likely more.
It’s important to tackle your mice or rat problem in a way that doesn’t harm other wildlife, such as cats, or birds that feed on rodents.
- Don’t use poisons. Chemicals like Warfarin or Bromadiolone are dangerous to all mammals and birds and are a common cause of poisoning in pets and wildlife. If a household pet or wildlife eats a mouse or rat that has eaten the poison, the poisons can kill the pet or wild animal as well! No one wants to loose a pet, not to mention the negatives effects it has for biodiversity as natural predators are critical for killing rodents.
- Inspect the exterior of your house for possible entry points and seal them. Sealing points of entry with steel wool and caulk is the best long-term solution to the problem. It can take several hours, but it is worth it.
- Keep your trash secure. Keep the lid of your refuse cart closed. If you have holes in your lid, or your cart is broken or cracked, please contact the City's Department of Public Works for a replacement.
- Don’t put pet food outdoors. Make sure to clean pet food and bird food daily or it will attract rodents as well.
- Maintain your property. Cut the grass regularly and remove woodpiles and other debris from the yard. Firewood should be elevated at least six inches to not allow shelter for rodents.
- Sweep or vacuum your kitchen regularly to keep crumbs off the floor. Mice are attracted by crumbs.
If you are still getting mice or rats in your house, use traps that kill them quickly and humanely. Live traps can be used for mice, but make sure to check the live traps daily. If you catch a live mouse, you need to release it at a location several miles from your house to prevent it from finding its way back in. Pro tip: peanut butter is great as bait for any trap.
From the City's Committee for a Better Environment
Misunderstood Community & Stray Cats
The term “community cat” is used to describe outdoor, unowned, free roaming cats. While many people use the term “feral”, these cats can be friendly and social, living peacefully in a stable “colony” of other cats. Most animal rescues and humane organizations endorse a “Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Return, and Monitor” (commonly known as “TNR”) model for humanely managing and controlling community cat colonies. Neutered cats are less of a community nuisance because they don’t spray, fight, and make excessive noise.
Years ago, people thought that removing community cats was an effective way of eliminating colonies. However, even if all of them could be removed, new unneutered/unvaccinated cats will move in and begin having kittens. It is easier to manage the existing colonies than to start all over with new ones.
Community cats who have been neutered are recognizable by looking at their ear (usually the left one) that has had the tip taken off during their neuter surgery. These neutered cats probably have a caretaker, and it is against Prince George’s County Code for an animal control officer to remove them unless they are sick, injured or aggressive. Please do not approach or touch an outside cat if it is unknown whether it has had rabies vaccines. Feral cats are not socialized to humans. They seem to prefer the outdoor life and will resist efforts to rescue them. If you come across a cat that is feral and not ear tipped, please contact the City’s Animal Control Officer before taking any other action. To contact the City’s Animal Control, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-375-3165. More information about the City’s Animal Welfare program can be found at www.collegeparkmd.gov/animalcontrol. If the City’s officer is not available, you can contact Prince George’s County Animal Control Services for all animal-related calls at 301-780-7241.
The City of College Park’s Animal Welfare Committee recommends that cats are neutered in order to avoid adding to the overpopulation problem. Studies have shown that with TNR of community cat colonies, the population will not only be controlled, but the numbers should also begin to decline over time. The “trap, neuter, vaccinate, return, and monitor” really works!
From the City's Animal Welfare Committee