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How mice and other rodents survive the winter

The winter season can bring lots of joy, but it can sometimes come with unwelcomed guests - the furry kind. While winter is typically known as a time for hibernation and rest for many animals, that is not the case for all rodents. Rats and mice don’t hibernate in the winter. So, where do these pests hide in the winter? 

In winter, mice, rats, and other rodents often seek refuge indoors to escape the cold. As temperatures drop, they seek warm and safe places to nest. If mice or rats find their way into your home, they will likely stay there throughout the winter season to stay warm.

Are you having trouble with rodents in your home this winter? Contact us today

mouse on burlap with holiday lights in the background

If you're unsure whether you have rodents in your home, it's important to look for signs like droppings, gnaw marks, and more.

Types of rodents to look out for

Although some rodents do hibernate during winter, like groundhogs, chipmunks, and some species of squirrels, not all do, so there are still some rodent species to stay on the lookout for during winter. 


Mice do not hibernate in the winter and can be a threat to your home. The house mouse is one of the most common mice species found in urban and suburban areas. They can cause significant damage by chewing through wires or building nests in insulation. Deer mice, on the other hand, are typically found in more rural areas. 


There are two main species of rats that are commonly found in the United States: the Norway rat and the Roof rat. The Norway rat is typically found in urban and suburban areas and is large, growing up to 19 inches in length, with the tail being from 5 to 8 inches long. The Roof rat is generally found in coastal states and can grow up to about eight inches. Rats do not hibernate in the winter; both species may look to your home for warmth during winter. 

Tree Squirrels

Even though some squirrel species hibernate, tree squirrels don’t. These pests will remain active during winter and may even seek shelter in your home. Squirrels can gnaw into your home to create openings in your roof, walls, or attic and cause damage by chewing wires and insulation, which can be a fire hazard.

mice hiding in wall

Where do mice and rats hide during the day?

Rats and mice survive the winter by staying warm and well-nourished. Since rats and mice don’t hibernate, it’s not uncommon for them or other rodents to find their way into your home during the colder months of the year. Mice are nocturnal creatures who typically hide in dark places during the day, but they may also venture out if they need food or water.

Here are a few common places that rodents, especially rats and mice, will go in the winter during the day to stay warm: 

  • Inside walls - Mice and rats can squeeze into small openings and may build nests in the insulation. 
  • Cabinets - Cabinets and cupboards can serve as a dark and quiet hiding space for rodents. 
  • Basements - Mice and rats may access your basement through small openings in your house foundation or vents. 
  • Attics - Attics are typically warm and dry, making them an ideal place for rodents to hide. 
  • Behind appliances - Appliances such as refrigerators and stoves can give off heat that often attracts rodents to these areas. 
  • Clutter - Cluttered areas are typically ideal for mice and rats to go unnoticed and build nests in. 

If you notice any of these signs in your home, Ehrlich can help. Contact us today for a free quote. 

What months are mice most active? 

The truth is that mice can be a problem for homeowners year-round, as they remain active even during the colder months when they require food, water, and warmth to survive. Mice are typically most active during the warmer months of April, May, and June. However, they are still a major threat to homeowners in the colder months from November through March. In the winter, rodents often seek shelter indoors to escape the cold temperatures. 

technician placing rodent trap outside

Winter pest control for mice and rats

If you’re dealing with mice, rats, or other rodents in your home, it’s crucial to take action before the problem gets worse. Our team of skilled technicians at Ehrlich specializes in rodent control and can help identify the root cause of the problem. Our technicians will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. 

Whether you need a one-time or year-round service, Ehrlich is here to help. Our PestFree365+ plan protects you from over 36 of the most common household pests year-round with regular services by our trained technicians. Contact us today for a free quote and protect your home from unwanted pests this winter. 

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