This Was Not How I Wanted to Kick Off Spring

Welcome to the 523rd Metamorphosis Monday!

I’m dreaming of spring and some porch time.


But before spring arrives, I’ll need to fix this thanks to a very bad mouse. Either a mouse or rat, not sure which, decided to chew his way in through one of the screened porch doors. In an effort to stop the intruder from getting onto the porch and decks again, my pest control guy blocked the hole. He also set up traps to catch the intruder.

Screen door damaged by a mouse


We later discovered the critter was apparently trying to set up camp inside the grill on my deck.

Deck Stained, Sherwin Williams Lodge Brown


In the meantime, the rat or mouse came back and cut a brand new hole in the door. Actually, he cut a hole in both of my screened doors leading from the decks into the porch.

Mouse damage to screened door


And just for fun, he went around and cut holes in all the lower screens around the porch. Allll of them! 🙁

Mouse damage to screening


I gave the grill away since I almost never used it. Hopefully, that will deter any future critters coming along and trying to make it their home again. Now it’s time to fix all the damage that was done. I’ll need to replace both screened doors and have all the lower screens re-screened this spring.

Mouse damage to screening on porch


Ever have a mouse chew his way onto your porch? In the eleven years I’ve had a screened porch, this is the first time I’ve had anything chew through the screens like this, well except for a squirrel who once tried to get to a birdfeeder I foolishly left out on the porch. Thankfully, he only chewed a hole in one screen, not all of them!

What spring repairs will you be working on in the next few months? Hopefully, it won’t be critter damage.

Guilty Squirrel


Looking forward to all the fabulous Before and Afters linked for this week’s Metamorphosis Monday!

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  1. Oh, dear… I’m sorry, Susan. A few years ago, we had one chew through the dryer vent hose and get in our house. Thankfully, my indoor cat, who had never even seen a mouse in person, quickly caught it for us. We were so proud of her! I hope removing the grill will take care of the problem for you once and for all. Enjoy this week’s warm weather!

  2. It could be a chipmunk! We had one living in the bushes by our house. We would see it on the front portico and the back deck. Always there but not too destructive. Sorry you had sooo much damage.

    • The pest control guy who caught it said it was mouse/rat. I do have chipmunks in the summer months, though…don’t see them much in the winter. Thanks, Roni!

  3. I would spray something out there that tastes bad. Also…..those glue traps for catching mince, etc. I would line them up in front of where the varmint is chewing. Get some today!

    • Thanks for that suggestion, Barb! The pest control guy caught him, so I think he’s gone now. I was just thinking today, I’m going to stuff alllll of the holes with cotton or fabric or something and if they stay plugged, I’ll know it’s okay to get them all rescreened and the doors replaced. I just don’t want to do it if there’s still a critter coming into the porch, but I don’t think there is. I haven’t seen any more droppings on the porch since he caught the mouse, so I think it’s okay to fix all the holes.

      • They will eat right through something like cotton… need steel wool. They can’t chew through that.

        • I know, I’d only be using that to see if they are still trying to come on the porch. I don’t think they are, I think the Pest guy took care of it, but just want to make sure before I re-screen.

          • Ann Butler says

            Do not use sticky tape, that is so inhumane. Use catch and release for them. Wish you luck with the rest of the winter months in hopes new critters do not come back.

  4. Wow! Several years ago I walked through an abandoned home that the squirrels moved into. They chewed through wood kitchen cabinets! The home has since been sold and remodeled.

    Sorry to see the damage at your place, because you keep such loving care for your home.

    • Wow! I wonder if there was food inside the cabinets. I guess it could have been worse, at least it didn’t chew on the cushions out there. Thanks, Barbara!

  5. That just what you needed! Rodent control and damage repair! Ugh! A squirrel chewed through the netting in both chicken runs and gained entry. The Leghorns were spooked by him but the Comets decided to attack him. The Urban Farmer opened the door and Mr Mischievous Squirrel scampered off.

  6. Yes, a chipmunk is what I thought too! They are so destructive! When we lived in the country they were so bold to get in our space… and did set up camp inside our grill.

  7. Good Morning Susan; love your blog! The other day I was looking in the cabinet for a pan and because it is big and dark it took a bit of time. Much to my horror, way in the back, I saw that some little rodent had made a nest in an old muffin tin, much to my horror! I love all of God’s creatures, but rodents are WAY at the bottom!

  8. How annoying! If it’s not 1 thing, it’s 10, and I bet that one wasn’t even on your list. Ugh, sorry tou have to deal with that.

    We’ve not had that issue, but I quit feeding birds in winter anywhere within my landscape. It’s good that you have traps set, but removal…..

    • Yes! I was thinking last night how carefree apartment living would be. lol I hope I don’t have to give up feeding the birds, I love that so much.

  9. That damage looks like it’s been done by more than a single critter. Where there’s one, there’s more. You might have a small herd of them. And I’d suspect rat rather than mouse.

    Good luck with getting rid of whoever it is. Might be time, finally, to acquire a new feline companion?

  10. That is a lot of damage and in so many places! So sorry you have to deal with such destruction. It’s kind of like the woodpecker that keeps pecking on our house. He has made several holes in the gables. I lost my French Prune tree to woodpeckers. I can say I haven’t noticed any creatures digging around the foundation. Keep us posted as to what gets caught in the trap!

  11. What a little pest! Sorry you have to deal with his apparently enormous appetite! I can’t believe he just kept going from one place to another, lol. That’s dedication, poor little guy. Well, at least he didn’t make it into the house! Eek.

  12. Susan,
    I am so sorry you have to deal with this. That is terrible. I hope you get everything repaired soon. I had no idea a varmint would eat into screen porches.

  13. Jane Franks says

    Yuck! So sorry you have to deal with this damage. I hope your pest control guy stays on it with you until the problem is permanently solved. Stuffing cotton in holes is a good idea, though, to test the waters, and see if there are more. This gives me pause about feeding the birds and 2 or 3 uninvited squirrels in our crab apple! But I have no screened in porch, and no food source on the porch — all out in the garden. Hope that satisfies them! And thankfully, my neighbor has a huge oak tree with plenty of acorns on the other side of her house! Re: spring clean up, I need to get our fence (wood/painted), cleaned, sanded down and repainted this spring. Yes, always something with home ownership! I wish you the best in solving this problem. Jane xo

    • He says they are gone and I haven’t seen any signs that they’ve come back, so I think it’s safe to rescreen now. They were basically going through the porch to get to the grill on the deck. I know, he thinks it’s the birdseed that first attracted them, but I don’t want to give up feeding the birds because it brings me so much enjoyment, plus hopefully helps the bird out, too. If this happens again, I may have to give up feeding them, though.
      Good luck with your fence, Jane! Yes, always something with houses for sure!

  14. What a terrible surprise for you! All that damage looks like too much for one mouse! I’m thankful for my pest control company. A couple of years ago I heard something in my kitchen wall at night. I swear it sounded so scary I was afraid I had a raccoon or something huge in the attic. It turned out to be mice that had chewed through the screening on the attic vent on one of the gable ends of the house. The pest control man set a baited live trap in the attic and repaired the gable with heavy screening like you show in your temporary repair. He came back the next day and took my problems away. Hope your problem is fixed soon, so you can look forward to spring on your porch. I love, love, love your porch. Thanks for sharing it through pictures and your blog.

  15. Yikes. What an unnecessary pain. Hopefully your critters don’t give lectures to cousins on my side of town.

  16. Never seen a hole that big caused my a mouse. We’ve had holes like that but it was caused by squirrels. Good luck!

  17. We had a rat take up residence in the engine of my husband’s Corvette. He didn’t understand what the noise was all about until he stopped the car about 20 miles from home and lifted up the hood. The rat ran away and what was left was a nest of insulation!

  18. Mary from Virginia says

    I would be freaked out! That is some serious destruction! I hate squirrels and their rat cousins.

    I hope something good comes from your repairs. 🙂

  19. Peggy Merrill says

    Sorry to hear that. Has anyone heard of this?….last summer when it was nesting time (I assume), the squirrels came on the patio and pulled the stuffing out of my patio cushions for their nests! We have lived in this house for 14 years and has never happened before.

    • Carolle Graham says

      Peggy, last year I had some animal chewing holes in all of our outdoor cushions. I actually thought it was chipmunks but I’m not sure. Now I’m leary of purchasing any new cushions. Ugh!

  20. Mary Conway says

    So sorry for this mess. Happened to us. Squirrel trying to get nest ready for her babies to come. That is why she was so destructive and persistent. I so love your posts, otherwise. Somehow I feel your frustration.

  21. EEEEeeekkk!! That was one aggressive critter!!! Gaaa…we have had mice in our grill…just gives me the jeebs and they will chew through…well, almost anything…my outdoor shower curtains are shot, etc. etc. etc. Back to work!! franki

  22. My Spring cleanup will be on my deck. I feed feral community cats there year round and while the cats are clean, the raccoons and birds who come to the cat food bowl are not. I don’t mind feeding all creatures who come – I have birds, squirrels, possums, and raccoons in addition to the cats – but the raccoons are messy because they wash their food while eating in the kitties’ water bowl, and the birds poo everywhere. I’ve had birds eating cat food even when there was plenty of food in the feeders. They all seem to co-exist, so I do what I can for God’s creatures.

  23. I’d rather think it was chipmunk than a mouse/rat. Still a lot of damage; something was desperate.

  24. Ahhhh, yes, those mice/rats are destructive. My mom had them in her attic. We used to use the valet service to an airport nearby, where your car is stored at an inside warehouse because we live in a part of the country that receives a lot of hail. We had a critter crawl up and sleep underneath the hood to keep warm. Before he slept, he ate through insulation on the electric wiring underneath the hood. Our damage was minimal but a friend of ours had $7,000 dollars damage from the same varment or his cousin. Now we all take a service to the airport! Haha

    Repairs at my house will include a new walkway to the front door.

  25. The rodents have been terrible in Georgia lately! Mice got into the tack compartment of my horse trailer and chewed a giant hole in my custom-made saddle pad, so I will have to have another one custom-made (not cheap). I still can’t figure out how they got in, but I have put mothballs in my trailer, which supposedly will deter them. Mice or possibly chipmunks also like to chew the wiring in my lawn tractor, so I put hanging mothball holders inside the mower to keep them out. Worst of all, I have had to have the blower fan in my car replaced TWICE in the past two years because mice got into the ventilation system, got caught in the fan when the car was started, and destroyed the fan (as well as themselves – EEEWWW!). I think we may need to get a cat, as our dogs just can’t seem to catch these pests, although they do try their best!

  26. I bet it’s a rat. I have a lot of experience with them. My house in Mexico is walled around the whole property but there was a vacant lot behind it and when it was cleared all the rats were displaced and moved to my property. In my garage I would look up at the roof line and in each space where the wall met the roof there would be a rat peering down at me. I have those curved tiles on the roof of the garage and patio.

    Called the exterminators and they never saw anything like it. I wouldn’t allow poisoning because of my dogs and neighbor’s dogs and cats so they came back with air rifles and started shooting at them. Rats were running all around the back garden with guys shooting at them. There wound up being a huge pile of dead rats in the street about 3’ across and 1’ high. I had the spaces filled where they hid out and no problem since. Luckily they never came in the house except when Lilli, my Chihuahua would kill one and bring me her “gift.”

    Get a cat. So sorry you have to replace all those screens. That’s one determined rat but he obviously agrees that your house is so pretty he wants to move in.

  27. The old “mouse in the grill”! I used to have a heavy insulated (in MA) grill cover to protect my stainless grill. Noticed a bit of insulation on the deck. Took cover off and opened the grill – I jumped one way as the mouse scurried the other! He/she/it had made a cozy little nest for winter comfort. I fired up that grill, scoured the grates, and threw the cover away. No more mice.

  28. A mouse family moved into our gas grill one winter too. What an awful mess. Thank goodness my husband was willing to do the worst of the cleaning and I came in only to ‘refine’. Lesson learned- clean your grill thoroughly before the end of the season to remove any yummy drippings etc.

  29. Here in our wet and woodsy Pacific Northwest neighborhood, I gave up on bird feeders long ago…total rat magnets. Instead, I’ve planted shrubs and ground covers (e.g. Crocosmia, lamium) that attract hummingbirds.

  30. Just what you don’t need! That was one busy mouse. Now I need to gingerly look in my grill. I used to work with mice in my research at Clemson, so my husband insists that is my domain, not his! We have resident black snakes on our property that have helped keep the mice and field rat population down. I’m like you, I could never give up feeding the birds.

  31. Does your pest guy think maybe a motion detector light would scare him off and/or make you go check to see what is going on?

  32. Michele (maryland) says

    I must confess, I was chuckling, sorry Susan! That is one large hole for a mouse actually. Must be one big fella…I can see a squirrel doing this kind of damage though.

  33. Thank you so much for hosting the party.
    Have a great week,
    Kippi #kippiathome

  34. Thanks so much for hosting each week!!

  35. We’ve been in our house for 21 years and NEVER had a problem with critters…until this year! We found cat food in our garage and our cat’s bowl is in the basement. He managed to get hold of it and bring it up to the garage and put it into a pair of shoes! My husband set up mouse traps both in the basement and the garage and our count is up to about 10 mice, and counting! I hope that your problem is taken care of. We still don’t know how they got from the basement into the garage!

  36. Oh, Susan…eeek! We never had mice chew through the screen, but in our last house the grill was on the patio and every year – when the first nice day comes and you want to make a cheeseburger – I would open the lid and a little face would peer up at me. YUCK! My husband would get rid of the mama mouse and babies and put them in the farm field behind our property. Then I would scrub that grill with disinfectant and put every piece that would fit in the dishwasher on Sanitize Wash!!! We did have grasshoppers eat through our screen….not big holes, little ones, probably the size of a dime. It was not on every screen, just a few, and in random spots. I never heard of grasshoppers doing that until I called the builder to see about getting the screens replaced and they said they were having a problem with this in our area. Anyway….since not all of the screens had holes we decided not to replace them until ALL the screens needed to be done – so as not to have different shades of screen. I went to the hardware store and purchased “stick on screen” and put little patches on in squares….and HATED THE WAY IT LOOKED. So, I cut star shapes out of the screen material…and for the largest hole I cut a crescent moon. It looked great….so much so that people asked where I got them. It looked especially nice when the sunlight came through and made a pattern on the floor of the porch. For a moment I thought making screen savers could be my “Shark Tank” moment…you know – not just for screen porches, but screens in every room of the house. Dinosaur, sports balls, unicorns, flowers, etc……it could be cute. But…we moved and now we have a new screen porch that is perfect. But just in case….I have my screen stars saved!
    Good luck keeping the critters out. Nothing really worked for us…mothballs, spray from the garden center, an electric humming thing….eventually the mice found a different place to spend the winter!

  37. Oh no! I wonder if there is critter proof screen? We back up to woods and have a Momma raccoon with her babies come into our yard every Spring.

  38. I suspect a squirrel or chipmunk. I’ve had a chipmunk chew through my concrete turn-around pad – we repaired it with about 8 inches of concrete and he made it through, again (we gave up and let him keep his escape route – hope we are not sorry). We also had a squirrel chew through my metal gutter cap. The repairman said he’d never seen that kind of damage before and had to make a special cap out of extra thick metal. They have teeth of steel!!! Maybe an outside cat would help. They don’t recommend poison as this would also kill their natural predators (like raptors, cats, good snakes, etc.). Good luck!

  39. We have a screened in back porch similar to yours in size and after many years had a contractor come in and replace every single screen panel. I kid you not—2 days after the job was done, for some unknown reason, a red tailed hawk flew through one of the screens and then proceeded to clutch onto each and every new screen as he/she was in a panic to get out. We opened both screen doors but he did not go near them. Eventually a neighbor got a big blanket and with gloved hands threw the blanket around the hawk and pried his talons off the screen and put him outside. We called the contractor back and said ” you know that beautiful screen job you did? Well, can you come back and do it again???? He did not believe that the hawk had done that much damage!

  40. I know you love to feed the birds and we do as well. However, bird seed and the hulls that fall to the ground attract all kinds of varmints. I put my foot down and told my husband we had to quit feeding the birds or set up feeders a good distance from the house. On the advice of the pest control person we carefully checked all the vents around the house as well as the gable vents and reset or recaulked as needed. We also had hardware cloth installed over the screens in the gables while we were at it. And we put Tomcat bait boxes in the crawl space entrances and in the attics. So far so good on the mice but we have a new type of pest in the last three years or so and that is rabbits.

  41. Oh, no! So sorry to hear that, Susan!
    But I’m wondering if you know why the traps didn’t work!? Either it was an extremely ‘nasty fellow’ that even came back AFTER the pest control guy had set up traps to catch it, or it had ‘partners in crime’, I’m afraid! Actually, why would just ONE single mouse/rat cut holes in ALL the screens? I hope it/they is/are gone now and it will never happen again! The only mice we want in our homes are computer mice! lol
    Good luck, Susan! So sorry, you have to fix all those damages, now! 🙁

    • They did work. He put the trap on the inside of the porch, in case he got in, which he did by making another hole. 🙁 I will stuff all the holes tomorrow with something that can be pushed out and if the cotton or paper I stuff it with is still here after a few days, I’ll know for sure it/they are really gone. Then I’ll get all the screens rescreened. Thanks, Cecilia! Definitely not what I would like to spend $$$ on but has to be done. lol Yes, only computer mice, please! 🙂

  42. I first thought squirrel. Hope the traps work so you know. What a mess I am in FL for the month so probably won’t be partying. Xo

  43. I’m so sorry! Have you thought about getting another cat? It might help.

    • I don’t think that would help since I always keep my cats inside. We have coyotes all over Atlanta and several neighbors have lost their cats to coyotes and cars. Plus, I travel too much now to have a cat, plus can’t go through the death of another one. My heart can’t take it, so sadly no more cats for me.

  44. Oooohhh ! I had not one, but two raccoons rip the screen off my porch and walk in. Where did they rip it ? Behind the downspout. My friend brought over her trap and got one that seemed young. Then it was another. They were after cat food on the porch. When I first moved here, I feed the birds and a big hawk flew through the yard and grabbed a bird. The bird’s partner sat in the tree and cried so long, I cried too. Then a gazillion squirrels showed up, so I stopped feeding the birds. Don’t keep bird feed on your porch. Squirrels will rip screens off to get to bird seed. So sorry for your misery.

  45. What a lot of screen/wood frame repairs to be done. Thank you Susan for your 532nd Metamorphosis Monday.

  46. Linda Montgomery says

    Mice, chipmunks, raccoons, are a piece of cake!!! We’ve got bears! They come and sit on the patio furniture, lift the grill lid and lick the grill grates. They will look in the windows at me while I cook in the kitchen. Hum, I wonder what he could have on his mind?
    I fed the birds ONE time. They ripped the feeder off and sent it flying to it’s death. I close every window when I cook and never grill outside without my dogs at my side. (And a big can of bear mace) Life in the mountains.
    Sorry for your luck. The porch always looks so nice and inspiring. Thanks for all your lovely posts and great information. Good luck.

    • Well, that definitely puts it all in perspective! Linda, you must have to buy cast iron furniture or something super supportive for your patio. That’s hilarious that they sit on your furniture, although I don’t imagine it’s so hilarious to you guys. They almost sound like big overgrown pets, looking at you while you cook in the window!
      I love the Georgia mountains and have even thought of moving there or to the Highlands area of NC, but not sure I could handle bears. 🙂 Do you ever videotape their shenanigans? Sounds like they aren’t afraid of humans.

  47. OH NO! Maybe there is a stronger screening that they cannot chew through! What a problem to have to deal with.

  48. Hi Susan, I bought a home in the Wolf Laurel Retreat in Mars Hill, NC. I love it! I am having to do serious remodeling. My husband, bless is heart – put a ridiculous price limit for a house up here, so we are catching it up now! Mice, OMG! My first night here alone, I screamed at a mouse and chipmunk to “GET OUT” which they did and then I slept the whole night in a bedroom with the doors closed and lights on. Next day, I googled mice protection. Lowes has Victor® PestChaser® PRO – 1 Unit I bought three. They also have mini night light chasers. I have them in all the bedrooms and dining room! I did have a contractor seal every possible hole in this house. He also put out a pellet all around my house border and in my dirt floor basement. They have nibbled but went away to die! Inhumane, I don’t think so, I just can’t share my house with anything but by my choice! And just their pee, can kill you! Check it out, maybe put a couple on your covered porch or at least in outlet if you have space! I sleep great now!!

  49. We live in Georgia and we had something chew through our grill cover this winter. The hole looks just like the one on your cover. This has never happened until this year and we have been in this house for 18 years. We were suspecting some type of rodent had chewed through the cover and now I am certain.

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