Two of the most common rodent pests encountered by humans in their living spaces are rats and mice.
Primarily a nocturnal animal, the rat is a much larger rodent than the mouse. If you have encountered a rat they generally they are simply trying to find food and will scurry away when frightened by movement or activity. However, some may be aggressive and if you find evidence of rat activity near or in your home, you should exterminate immediately.
Color – Light brown to gray to black
Length – 10” to 12” (some may be larger)
Diet – Grains, seeds, fruit and meat. They are scavengers so if garbage is left unattended outside is an appealing opportunity for a rat. They will often travel 300 to 500 feet from their burrow to find food.
Habitat – Rats will make nests under woodpiles, burrow holes in the ground and can work their way into a building through a gap as small as 1/2". Some species, like the Roof Rat will generally take up residence in an attic while the larger Norway Rat will live in the basement or ground floor.
Impact – Rats can spread disease, contaminate food and can even be aggressive. They have also been destructive by gnawing at electrical wiring and wood to try and further open a hole to get into a building.
One of the most common rodent pests to make it into the house is the “house mouse.” Their small size can make it quite easy for them to get in and go undetected until they begin to move about in search of food. Since the female mouse is capable of having upwards of twelve babies every three weeks, you can see how mice can multiply quickly.
Color – Light brown, gray to black.
Length – 2” to 4”
Diet – They typically will eat plants and seeds. However, if meat is available they will feed on that, as well as dairy. A mouse needs very little water to survive. If food is scarce, they will sometimes eat their fecal droppings for any nutrients left in it.
Habitat – Mice prefer to live in some kind of a safe structure often living near a house or inside it if they can. They will also live in nests and as social creatures, will share their nest with other mice.
Impact – Mice are unwelcome pests in the home for a few reasons. They can taint food and water with their waste, trigger allergies and spread disease through their bites.