If you see even a single mouse in your house, you could soon have a huge problem. Mice are pervasive and persistent, and they reproduce explosively.
One or two mice in your home could quickly turn into dozens leading to a full-blown infestation. Naturally, most homeowners will try to trap or kill these mice before things get out of hand, but using poison is risky.
One story that’s commonly repeated asserts that uncooked rice can kill mice. Is it true? Can uncooked rice kill mice?
No, uncooked rice is very unlikely to kill a mouse. If a mouse were to eat lots of uncooked rice in a very short period of time, it is possible that it might cause a fatal digestive tract blockage, but this is hardly guaranteed.
This is one of those tales that has persisted because there is a grain of truth in it, if you’ll pardon the pun.
If a mouse would pig out on nothing but uncooked rice it isn’t out of the question that it could suffer fatal side effects, but it’s still highly unlikely and this makes it a really bad choice for depopulating mice.
I’ll tell you more about this below, and give you a few ideas for dealing with a mouse infestation that you might have…
Won’t Uncooked Rice Blow Up with Water?
Uncooked rice will expand when it is exposed to water, or other moisture, for a while, but it doesn’t do so to a degree that will fatally injure a mouse. This is the basis of the tale we are dissecting…
The story goes that uncooked rice is fatal for mice (or birds or other animals depending on who’s telling the story) because it will magically swell up and either block their digestive tract completely, suffocate them or burst their internal organs in a truly gruesome fate.
It sounds plausible, if grim, doesn’t it? It does, but the sad fact of the matter is that it just isn’t true.
Rice will expand with moisture or if immersed in water, but it doesn’t do it in such a way that it can cause injury outside of the most extraordinary circumstances. Myth busted!
For our purposes, that means we need to come up with an alternate way to naturally poison mice with food if that was our intended goal.
Do Mice Like Rice?
Yes. Mice generally like rice. Rice is a good source of protein, carbs and various vital nutrients for mice, and they won’t hesitate to eat the stuff even though it isn’t their favorite food.
Does Uncooked Rice Attract Mice?
Yes and no. Mice have extraordinarily good senses of smell and they can definitely detect uncooked rice as a food source from some distance away, and be drawn to it.
Being said, uncooked rice isn’t something that is truly irresistible to them like seeds or peanut butter.
This means if you are going to use rice as bait, you want to cook it first if at all possible assuming it’s the only option. A much better option is a different kind of bait entirely.
But, if rice is all you have or if you have a quantity of rice that mice have already been pillaging, there’s no reason why you can’t repurpose it as an effective bait or attractant.
Is Cooked Rice Safe for Mice, Too?
Yes, it is. Cooked rice is completely safe from mice, and they greatly prefer it to the raw stuff.
Cooked rice, of any kind, is soft, easy to chew, easy to swallow, and much easier for them to digest compared to uncooked. Mice prefer cooked rice and are more eager to find and eat it compared to uncooked rice.
This means that you might have better success using cooked rice to lure in mice, so keep that in mind if you’re planning on using rice as bait in the first place.
You might have to spend a little bit of extra time preparing the rice for your tiny victims, but this will pay off in a higher trap or kill rate.
Can Mice Eat Any Color of Rice?
Yes, they can. Mice can eat rice of any color and also any kind of preparation. They can have white rice, brown rice, whole grain rice, blue rice, yellow rice, rice with jasmine, or anything else that you might have in your home.
Although they might prefer one kind over another, it isn’t going to make any difference to them when it is dinner time.
And more to the point for us, there’s no specific kind of rice that we can reach for if we want to fatally poison mice with it. We’ll have to turn to alternate means.
Can You Give Uncooked Rice to a Pet Mouse?
Yes, yes you can, but if you care about your tiny little furry friend it’s best to cook it first.
Uncooked rice isn’t overtly fatal to mice as we’ve discussed already, but it is more difficult for mice to digest and will make them thirsty.
You can give your pet mouse cooked rice on a limited basis as a part of a balanced diet. That’s beyond the confines of this article, though, so we are moving on for now.
What is a Mouse’s Favorite Food?
Mice actually eat a surprisingly varied diet, and they have many foods that you might say are their favorites.
In the wild, mice eat a diet consisting of grains, seeds, nuts, berries and more. Variety bird seed is one of their favorites, and out of your own pantry you might try fruit jam or preserves, sweet gummy or hard candies, and even chocolate.
Yes, the theobromine present in chocolate is bad for mice, but that doesn’t stop them from eating it. I’ll talk more about that in a bit…
But, if there is one thing that might seem to love more than absolutely anything else it is peanut butter. Oily, fragrant, extremely dense with calories, protein, fat and more, no mouse can resist the stuff.
What Should You Use to Attract Mice to Traps?
When I am baiting my mouse traps around the house I use either peanut butter or chocolate with great success. It works equally well whether I’m using a live catch trap or a lethal trap.
Mice truly cannot resist the stuff, and considering peanut butter is sticky and adheres to triggers well, and chocolate is also fragrant and can be mashed into different shapes.
Both are easy to work with no matter what kind of trap I am setting. But if I was going to pick just one, it would be peanut butter.
Is There Anything You Can Mix with Rice to Use as Bait?
You could mix anything that was truly poisonous to mice with rice and use it as poison bait, but it does beg the question of why you would do that.
Over-the-counter poison baits are already attractive to mice, and if you have some other existing poison, it will be best served in a food that is soft and malleable like the aforementioned peanut butter or chocolate.
Rice isn’t going to absorb very much of the poison by comparison, and it isn’t nearly as attractive to the mice.
Are There Any Normal Foods That Are Poisonous to Mice?
Yes, quite a few actually!
One of the foods that we just talked about, chocolate, can actually be weaponized against mice if you want to use really dark chocolate or equally dark cocoa.
This is because there are greater and greater amounts of theobromine in chocolate the darker it is.
A sufficiently high dose of theobromine can result in heart arrhythmia, seizures, internal bleeding and eventually heart failure in a mouse, resulting in its death.
Mice are sensitive to other foods, including raisins, grapes, walnuts, and raw beans. The proteins and compounds found in these foods can result in a variety of negative health effects, eventually culminating in organ failure and death.
Walnuts are one good option, although a mouse will have to eat quite a few of them over a period of time to perish from them, as are raisins.
One option for a food that is otherwise completely benign to people and pets is instant mashed potato flakes.
Mice will definitely eat the starchy, tasty potato flakes but this is one food that will genuinely swell up dramatically and, probably, fatally once consumed.
Tom has built and remodeled homes, generated his own electricity, grown his own food and more, all in quest of remaining as independent of society as possible. Now he shares his experiences and hard-earned lessons with readers around the country.