Rodent Identification & Damage
Mouse and Rat Identification and Habits
House mice are small and fairly recognizable, but here’s a brief rundown of ID, and habits:
- They’re eight inches from nose to tail and weigh about one ounce, gray to brown in color, with a slender body with pointed nose, protruding eyes, hairless tail.
- While they prefer grains and seeds, they will eat a wide variety of foods including oats, dried fruits, meats (like bacon), peanut butter, cheese, bread, marshmallows, etc.
- House mice are able to survive on very little water.
- These animals are extremely prolific and a single pair of mice can produce thousands of offspring within a year; a good reason to control your rodent problem!
Norway rats and roof rats are very similar in appearance but there are differences.
- Norway rats are brown to gray, and often called sewer rats. They are stout and robust; weighing 7 to 15 ounces, have small ears and a tail shorter than its body.
- Roof rats are gray to white and slightly smaller, with a sleek and agile body weighing 5 to 10 ounces with large ears and a pointed muzzle.
- Rats will eat basically anything they can digest, but they like to eat similar foods to mice.
- Rats require more water than mice and will seek it out wherever they are.
- One female rat will produce about eight litters a year, with up to eight young in each litter; they’re just as prolific as mice.
- Mice and rats eat virtually anything; your home is a hotbed of shelter, water, and food. Even garbage outside your home is extremely attractive, as well as junk piles, woodpiles, or any debris that can give them shelter.
- Household rodents are not easily deterred. They will take any means to get to your home, like swimming through water or climbing along electrical poles and lines just to gain access.
- They are gnawers, which means anything with an edge is vulnerable for damage, and you may find gnaw damage on baseboards, cupboards, doors, ledges, etc. Wood and siding can easily be chewed through, even metal if there is an edge present. Mice are known for destroying rigid foam insulation and other types.
- Stored food products are especially vulnerable in an infested home. Since they can even chew through metal, those cardboard cereal boxes don’t stand a chance. For this reason, they can very quickly contaminate a large percentage of your stored food. A few rats can contaminate an entire silo of stored grain within weeks.
- Droppings are a big indicator of a rodent infestation, and the droppings and urine add to the contamination factor. You will find droppings in the “runways,” or travel lanes the rodents choose to move, and also on any feeding surfaces and shelter areas.
Damage and Problems Caused By Rodents
Besides the simple “ick” factor of having rodents in your home, they’re also fairly destructive and can cause a range of problems for you and your family or at your workplace, property, barn, etc.
Rodents are also carriers of disease. Their carcasses and feces can be dangerous and since they are often in sewers and garbage, they can carry a variety of bacteria and viruses.