Do Mice Eat Each Other When Dead?

Mice don’t have moral ethics like humans do. They only seek the survival of the species when facing adversity, and this sometimes may lead to actions that we humans find disgusting or unethical. But nothing is random in nature.

Many animals attempt to increase their protein intake during wintertime to maintain their body temperature, and mice are no exception. If mice can’t get another protein source to keep up the calorie intake, they will eat whatever protein they have available at their disposal, which includes other dead mice.

Why Do Mice Eat Each Other When Dead?

If mice don’t eat other dead mice during cold weather, that could be the difference between life or death. If they don’t take their chance on that opportunity, any other animal will.

If that resource goes to waste, they end up being in a worse situation than they were before, because now they have to deal with the lack of food and contaminated resource. If they eat it, they can become sick, if they don’t they will starve to death.

How do mice react to dead mice?

Mice are animals, they don’t have feelings like we do (or at least that we can compare directly). They can see a dead mouse as a potential food source, or as a warning that there is danger nearby.

If they smell a dead mouse in a trap or even poisoned, they will potentially avoid that area, they are able to sense that death is somehow waiting for them in there and so, they will avoid it.

How long will dead mice smell?

The emancipated smell of a rotting dead mouse can emit a foul odor from a week to a couple of weeks. Please bear in mind that weather conditions play a role in the acceleration process of the corpse decomposition and the intensity of the smell.

Colder weather can preserve the body for quite a long time without even smelling, while on the other hand, heat can make it smell really bad in just a couple of hours.

Some conditions with a lot of heat, moisture, and salty air (near coastal areas) may even mummify the body, without making too much of a fuss.

Can mice be cannibalistic?

When adversity strikes, mice can exhibit cannibalistic behavior. This is mainly seen during times of starvation, when this happens, you can see things like:

  • Mice consume their own tails, so they won’t end up starving and dying.
  • Females eat their own offspring, so they can survive and breed the next one and continue the specie.
  • Mice gnawing on other seemingly edible materials, this is why they chew wires and end up electrocuted sometimes.
  • And of course, mice eat other dead mice as a source of protein intake, so they can increase their body temperature and gain calories to keep going on.

They are really noisy creatures, when they are at their most active, mice can do a lot of noise when trapped.

Do dead mice attract more mice?

If you happen to see a dead mouse, it is mostly guaranteed that there are more mice nearby. This happens because mice are social creatures, and only on very few rare occasions they are alone, or on their own.

Dead mice don’t necessarily attract more mice, because probably they are already there. But you can see this as a clear sign that there will be more around.

Do mice mourn their dead?

Mice may seem heartless creatures who act and live on their own, but that is not true. Mice are really highly social creatures. When they have a family of their own, they usually live in a single nest.

In their family nest, mice will live, play, eat and sleep altogether. If a mouse is left alone, he will get very lonely. It has been observed that when a family mouse dies, the close ones mourn its loss.

What do you do when a mouse dies inside your wall?

There are no magic solutions when a mouse dies inside a wall in your house. It is very difficult to precise the exact location of the mouse carcass and it will be very hard to remove it since it is inside a wall.

The only way possible to remove a mouse carcass is by cutting the wall open. But this will be extremely difficult to accomplish, not to mention that the odor will permeate throughout the space and it will be almost impossible to locate its precise location.

Is a dead mouse smell harmful?

The dead mouse smell can be very unpleasant, but the pungent odor itself won’t be enough to harm your health (maybe your sensible nose, just a little). To smell a dead mouse in the morning, while you are taking breakfast can be a little stomach-turning. It’s definitely a no-go situation.

So, you’ll need to take some action in order to improve the situation. To get rid of the dead mouse smell you can:

  • Use incense sticks
  • Deodorize your fabrics
  • Get an odor remover
  • Consider using ground coffee
  • Sanitize all the surfaces
  • Ventilate your house
  • Bake some cookies

Can you get sick from a dead mouse in the wall?

You will not get sick from a mouse that meets its demise inside a wall, but the smell of death will be absolutely nauseating. The mixture of a decomposing mouse carcass along with the putrescine and cadaverine that follows along in time with various Sulphur compounds will turn your stomach upside down.

Warning: Dead mice can also attract roaches, this can rapidly become an extra problem to the existing one. Have this in mind when ignoring a dead mouse on the wall.

Can you get sick from breathing in the dead mouse smell?

The direct smell of a dead mouse can be harmful to your health. There are toxic gases and microscopic compounds from the dead mouse that are constantly being released into the indoor air, especially if you have a ventilation system in your house.

Most homes in the world are not consistently ventilated, this means that the gases can be inhaled into the respiratory tract and can potentially cause some illnesses.

Can you leave a dead mouse on the wall?

Only if it is truly unreachable. Leaving a dead mouse on a wall is not a good idea for many reasons such as:

  • The odor will become unbearable as the rodent decomposes in time.
  • Eventually, you will have to deal with flies and other insects that get attracted to a mouse carcass
  • You risk yourself to diseases if your air gets contaminated with something harmful to your health.
  • You may have to deal with other rodents if food resources are critical.


As you can see mother nature can be flawless when it comes to survival skills, and this is one of the many reasons why mice have the instinct of eating dead ones to survive. If you happen to see a dead mouse gnawed like a pancake, you won’t need to take a wild guess anymore.