In perfect conditions, mice and rats aren't dangerous. They are not disease ridden and they don't generally bite. Some people even have them as pets. But the difference between pets and pest, isn't just a rearranging of letters (clever, huh?). A mouse or rat in a cage isn't the same creature who slips into your house through a dime sized gap in the rotted wood under your porch. Domesticated mice and rats have not been exposed to rot and bacteria in and around your home. And, domesticated rodents don't drop feces in your Frosted Flakes. Here's where it all breaks down.
Wild rodents are nasty creatures. They crawl through sewage pipes, trash bins, septic, mud puddles, and other bacteria laden things you wouldn't dream of touching. Then, they crawl into your silverware drawer, or your food cupboards. They carry rot and disease on their fur, and in their feces. And, they take no consideration for what they touch, or where they leave their droppings. This is a serious health hazard for your family, if rodents are getting in your house. It may break your heart, but those little field mice have to go.
If you still don't believe mice and rats carry disease, because you grew up on Mickey Mouse and, Ratatouille is in your top ten movies of all time, then take a quick stop at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and see what they have to say about rodents and disease; it is startling.
If you are already dealing with a mice or rat infestation, call a professional to have them removed. Do it yourself methods are unpleasant, and often, don't get rid of the problem. Rodents are timid, and you may think you got them all, only to find fresh droppings in the cabinet under your sink, or in the back of your food drawers. Or worse, you wake up to thumping and scratching in your walls.
Rodent-proofing your home starts with your yard. Don't leave bags of trash out. Store them in sealed containers. Don't leave construction materials in the yard, these draw rodents in, and once they are near your home, they will get curious about what is inside. Check your home for rotted wood, especially in hard to check places, like under the deck or patio. Mice can slip in through a hole the size of a dime. Seriously. So, make sure you seal up those holes. Examine all your screens for thin rips or tiny gaps, and put screens on places you wouldn't normally think to, like the top of your chimney. As added protection, cut trees back away from the house so rodents can't jump down onto your roof, and get access to holes around the roof line. Wire mesh stuffed into the bottom of your downspouts will keep rodents from climbing up, and still allow rainwater to flow out. Also, make sure you have properly installed door sweeps. Mice love to squeeze under those.
If a rodent gets into your house, don't give it what it's looking for. Keep your cereal and grains in sealed plastic containers. Put pet food down for an hour or two, so your pet can eat, and then put it away in the fridge. Leave fruit in the fridge as well, instead of displaying it on the table. Clean dishes each night, so you don't leave snacks for the rodents. Keep your floors clean of crumbs and spills. And make sure pipe leaks are fixed. Rodents need to drink.
Don't risk the health of your family. With these preventative measures, and the assistance of a pest professional, your home can be rodent free. If you really feel you must have a mouse, take a trip to the pet store. Your family will be happier and safer if you do.