Imagine you’re washing dishes in the kitchen when, out of the corner of your eye, you see something dart across the room. Upon further inspection, you find all the signs of a mouse infestation: droppings, chewed doors and wood paneling, shredded paper, and food packaging. You may think this is just one mouse, but, depending on how long it has been making itself welcome in your home, there could be hundreds.

You’re probably wondering if you read that right. There’s no way possible that you could have hundreds of mice in your house, right? Well, let’s do the mouse math by looking at the life cycle of a mouse.

Mice reach maturity – the age where reproduction is possible – between 6 to 7 weeks of age. The mice then can have a litter of around 12 pups – that’s what baby mice are called – within 3 weeks of conception. They can become pregnant again in 24 hours. Within another 6 to 7 weeks, that litter will reach maturity and have their own pups. Each mouse has an average of 15 litters a year, so the population is constantly growing exponentially. Within just three months, a family of 6 mice can quickly grow into 60.

You may be doing the math in your head now. How many mice in your home if they’ve been there for 6 months? A year? That’s enough to cause anyone to panic. Before you pack up all of your belongings and move out, here are some things you can do to rid your home of mice.

Call a Professional

If you think that the infestation has been going on for a long time, your best option is to hire a professional. Certified exterminators have many options for riding your house of pets – including humane ones if you can’t bare the idea of killing that many mice. Upon the first signs of a mouse infestation, call your exterminator. They will be able to assess the damages and current mouse population in your home, and then they will work with you to create the perfect plan that fits your home and lifestyle.

Use Traps

There are a lot of trap options you can use to help curb your rodent problem. Just try to stay away from inhumane traps like glue traps because they can be quite gruesome and barbaric. Instead, consider looking into bait traps, wood traps, or multiple – capture live traps. This gives you a better chance at catching all the mice too. The most important thing is to not underestimate your mouse problem. The more traps you set, the better the outcome.

Get a Pet

Cats – and even some dogs! – are portrayed as perfect mouse catchers for a reason. Most common household pets are natural predators, and they will have no problem ending your infestation problem. Many farmers often use cats to rid their farms or barns of mice and to control the population. If this is the option you choose, make sure that your pet has all their needed shots, and make sure you are not using any chemical traps that could possibly harm your pet upon ingestion.