Mouse Mythbusters: Can a Mouse Squeeze Through a Hole the Size of a Dime?

Features - Annual Rodent Control Issue

Barrier Pest Control puts this urban legend to the test in a Facebook video.

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August 5, 2020

Mice are known for their ability to sneak through small spaces, but Idaho- based Barrier Pest Control decided to find out just how small in an experiment the firm posted on social media.

In a video uploaded to Facebook, Kirk Dean, co-owner of Barrier Pest Control, showed viewers his step-by-step process for conducting an experiment to answer the question, “Can a mouse fit through a hole the size of a dime?”

Dean began by purchasing a 2½- gallon aquarium with a black divider in the center. He removed the divider and measured all four sides to get its exact length and width. Using a CNC machine, he created three plexiglass dividers with different-sized holes for the mice to go through. One had quarter-sized holes, one had nickel-sized holes and one had dime-sized holes.

Once he made the dividers, Dean put two mice on one side of the container and slid the divider with quarter-sized holes into place. He stuck a bit of peanut butter on the other side of the container to lure them through the holes. The mice sniffed around the container. Although they were skittish at first, they eventually made their way through the quarter-sized holes.

“You can just see him go through,” Dean said in the video. “They’re not afraid anymore. They’re just passing through like it’s nothing.”

Dean repeated the experiment using the divider with the nickel-sized holes and achieved the same results. Then, it came time for the dime-sized holes. Although the larger of the two mice had to contort their bodies, both made it through the holes several times.

“So, the answer to ‘Does a mouse fit into the size of a nickel, quarter and a dime?’ The answer is a resounding yes,” Dean said in the video.

The inspiration for the video came out of a staff meeting, Dean told PCT. As the Barrier Pest Control staff discussed myths and frequently asked questions in the pest control industry, someone brought up the idea that a mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime.

“We thought it would be interesting to try it out,” Dean said. “We also thought it would be interesting to let people in on the construction of the equipment that we were going to use to do our test.”

Barrier Pest Control’s Kirk Dean with his device that showed Facebook viewers just how small a space rodents could squeeze through.

While Dean expected the video to get a significant response on social media, he didn’t anticipate the reaction it received. Since it was posted on Dec. 4, 2019, the video has garnered more than 15,000 views on Facebook. Barrier Pest Control has also seen a spike in website and Facebook traffic, he said.

“That’s the way it is with videos and social media,” Dean said. “Sometimes it’s impossible to judge what the reaction will be. That’s why it’s important to keep trying new things and putting it out there.”

Getting the supplies, creating the plexiglass dividers and charging the cameras took most of a day to complete, Dean said. However, the experiment itself lasted about 10 minutes. Dean has invested in camera equipment over the years, which allowed him to get a variety of close-up and wide-angle shots. One of the most difficult aspects of filming, he said, was not knowing how the video turned out until he reached the editing stage.

“The challenging part of filming it is hoping that you are getting good footage while the experiment is happening [and] not really knowing if it’ll all come together until the editing process,” Dean said. “Thankfully, it worked out for this video.”

Founded in 2006, Barrier Pest Control is owned by Dean and his brother, Mike Dean. Barrier Pest Control regularly posts videos on social media that engage with different topics in the industry. “We’ve always tried to create videos that would be interesting for our customers and the industry at large,” Dean said.

The author is a Cleveland-based writer.