In the 2019 Wildlife Photographer of The Year People’s Choice award 28,000 people voted Sam Rowley’s ‘Station Squabble’ – an image of two mice fighting over a morsel of discarded food on a London Underground platform – the clear winner.
This winning image aside, just how many mice infest London underground’s labyrinth of tunnels?
And what risks, if any do they pose to human health above and below ground?
Half a million and most likely rising
It was estimated in 2017 that 500,000 mice live in the labyrinth of tunnels on the London Underground coming up to platform level to find food – more often than not the crumbs and morsels discarded by unwitting passengers. Today we’re more aware of the importance of being responsible for our litter but we can’t always stop the faltering flow of crumbs and leftovers from our wrappers. A mouse needs just 3g a day of these crumbs to survive. And it can manage without water, taking fluid from leftovers high in fat, protein and sugar.
Has this number increased?
It’s hard to say because as at February 2020 up to date statistics are not available. But on the basis that a single female mouse can give birth to 6-12 mice 5 – 10 times a year it’s safe to assume this number has most likely increased rather than decreased; moreover given our ongoing love affair with on-the go sugary, starchy snacks.
Do mice pose a risk to London Underground passengers?
The answer is yes. But the risk spreads beyond the Underground to the over ground too. And in fact anywhere where mice are present. This is why they are classified as a public health pest.
Mice are known to spread more than 35 diseases to humans directly, through handling of live or dead rodents; contact with rodent faeces, urine, or saliva, and rodent bites. Diseases can also be spread to humans indirectly, through fleas, ticks, or mites that have fed on an infected rodent. Mice droppings if handled or ingested can transmit numerous dangerous diseases including Hantavirus, Salmonellosis, Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis and Tularemia.
There are 10 million people in London.
So it’s no surprise that ‘above ground’ mice are prolific breeders thanks to the sheer volume of restaurants, hotels, takeaways, gastro pubs; in fact any building where food is available is a source for them to feed and breed. Tourist attractions, museums, sports arenas, food distribution outlets and storage facilities; office blocks packed with hungry workers and in-house catering facilities – all a haven for mice.
Food debris left outside overnight for collection is another supply too. With their sharp teeth mice make short shrift of the toughest of bags.
Then add into this heady mix those unscrupulous landlords organisations unwilling to invest in pest control and, the businesses that don’t see the real value and importance of robust pest prevention and pest control – and you can see why you’re never more than a few feet away from a mouse; above and below ground.
Time to talk about mice?
If you need to talk about pest control for the buildings you manage, for your business or for your home please contact Dyno-Pest. We are the London based mice riddance experts with over 35 years’ experience