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Will Mice Chew on Tar Edging?

By Chris Williams on October 21, 2014.

I have a tar edging around my house and driveway and they (whatever “they” are) seem to be eating or chewing on it, and leaving black droppings that look like mouse turds. I put a mouse trap out where the turds are and after 3 days caught a mouse (I think). It was gray with long tail about 4 inches long? Can it be the mouse that is doing the destruction to my house? F.M.

mice or animals might chew on tar

Mice don’t usually gnaw on tar, but might if they try and burrow below the driveway.

Your description does sound like a house mouse. If you still have some droppings, you could probably verify that by checking our blog, What Do Mouse Droppings Look Like?

There’s no way to say whether that mouse was responsible for at least some of the damage. The black droppings left by the mouse do not necessarily mean that he has been feeding on tar, since mouse droppings are usually black. In his defense, the mouse could have just been passing through, enticed by your baited trap. On the other hand, all rodents, including mice, are well known for their habit of gnawing on all kinds of objects.

Other Animals Will Chew on Tar

Gnawing on tar is not common for mice, but it’s possible. There is apparently some attractive ingredient in tar since pets are known to chew on it, too. People can even develop a tar-chewing habit which can be poisonous if too much is eaten. The damage could have been from mice, or squirrels, or some other animal. Once an animal starts chewing on the tar, it will probably keep it up if undeterred.

Do you see any signs of burrow openings in the dirt under the driveway or around the foundation? Mice and rats like to nest under the edges of driveways, sidewalks, and other large slabs. The gnawing on edges could be a result of trying to open or widen a burrow entrance.

If you’re in our service area, you should have our technicians take a look for additional clues. They may find that the damage is not from animals at all. If it’s clear that there is a mouse problem around your home, the technicians can start a control program. It’s also possible that some kind of taste repellent could be applied to the edges where the chewing is taking place that would deter whatever is causing the damage.

Photo credit: erix! / Foter / CC BY

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