Mice and rats - shudder! - are often the main reason I get calls for hoses for washers and dishwashers and insulation and wiring for stoves. The little buggers are thirsty and will chew through all kinds of stuff to get to water or to find a nice warm place to raise their young.
If you live in a rural area where rodents are prevelant (and you can get them in the city, too!), this may be a particular problem. Their front teeth grow continually and plastic, pvc pipe and rubber is perfect for them to help wear them down. And if your area has been short on rain, or areas where they normally get water from are dried up, then they can kill two birds by chewing on your hoses and getting to the water in your hoses and pipes. They can also get in the insulation in your stoves and make nests and chew on electrical wires - such a nice warm place to raise babies but the smell - ugh!!!
What to do? Cats, while some are good mousers, can't get into walls where they hide. Ferrets (they are not rodents and mice and rats are naturally prey for them) can get into the walls and hidey-holes but unless you have them trained well, they might get outside then you will have a merry chase getting them back.
You can also resort to traps and/or poison bait, or hire a pest control company to come take care of the problem. I've baited traps with peanut butter and that works way better than cheese (won a $20 bet on that once!). Store bought poisons will work but then you have the issue of carcasses decomposing in your walls (my stomach just turned - bleck!). Or call your local pest control company. But be really careful using these especially if you have pets and small children.
Pest control companies will come and assess your pest problem. Not only rodents but ants, spiders, termites and other creepy crawlies. They usually put you on a service contract and come out periodically to check traps, spray for what is active at that time, and for general check up. You will probably get the best bang for your buck here, not to mention the peace of mind of having all your pest problems taken care of.
Face it, they ain't called "pests" for nothing - and where you may see one or two, there could be colonies hiding in your walls or crawl spaces. Getting on the problem now will definately save you bucks later!
Have a great week (if you can after this post - eeuuwww!!!)