Rodent Identification & Characteristics

House Mouse Identification

Biology

A prolific breeder, the House Mouse is sexually mature at 2 months old, has a gestation period of only 3 weeks, and averages 5 to 8 young per litter, but potentially up to 15. Each female may give birth to 8 litters. The life span can be from 2 to 3 years. The House Mouse is a nibbler, consuming small quantities of food at many feedings. They are “curious”, and tend to investigate new objects that are placed in their environment. Favored foods may be grains, dried fruits, nuts, and sweet materials. They are known reservoirs of diseases such as rickettsial pox (mites), typhus (fleas), and filth problems with Salmonella, tapeworm, roundworm, and others parasites.

Identification

Adults remain small, less than 7 inches long from tip of nose to tip of tail. They have hairless, scaly tails that separate them from meadow or deer mice, and ears relatively bare of hairs. A young rat looks similar to the House Mouse, but the rat has feet and eyes that are disproportionately large in comparison with its head and body.

Characteristics Important in Control

The full complement of traps and baits are effective on mice. Exclusion should consider closing any openings as wide as ¼ inch, along with elimination of any harborage sites that are not needed, such as waste piles, packing boxes, wood piles, or heavy outside vegetation. Like the other domestic rodents they prefer to remain against vertical surfaces, in contact with their “guard hairs” on their body, and control measures should be placed against these pathways.

The most common winter invader is the house mouse. The house mouse looks for a warm, cozy place to spend the winter.

Mice Information

Mice enter your home, business or building by squeezing through spaces as small as the diameter of a pencil. Once inside the home, they become destructive. They damage and destroy your home by chewing wires, which can cause fire along with eating and contaminating your food spreading disease. Mice carry over 20 different pathogens of human disease such as a salmonella, Hantavirus and asthma to name a few.

Mice usually live only for a year, but if all their offspring were to survive and reproduce at a similar rate, onepair of house mice have the potential to produce more than 500 young within a year! It is wise, to begin control earlier than later. Another shattering figure is the amount of droppings a mouse will produce. In one year, one mouse produces up to 18,000 droppings along with depositing hundreds of micro droplets of urine to mark its trails.

Rat Identification

Biology

This rat is commonly sold as a “pet rat”, and has been bred for white coloration as “lab rats” as well, leading to the occurrence of white and brown marked races. It is primarily a ground dweller, although it can climb very well, and prefers to reside in burrows. It swims very well and often lives in sewers and other underground water systems. It is primarily a nocturnal animal, and will restrict its range of movement only to that which is needed to find food and water, perhaps only 20 or 30 from home. Norway Rats are omnivores and opportunistic feeders, feeding on any natural or human foods available. They are neophobic and may avoid new objects placed in their environment for some time. A normal life expectancy for them is one year or less, although when cared for they may live several years. The gestation period of the female is 22 days, litters average 8 to 9 pups, and she may have several litters in her one year. Damage from gnawing can be extensive, as they chew on pipes of plastic or metal, wires, wood, or furnishings and walls, and commonly bite humans. While not the primary reservoir of bubonic plague, they have the potential to spread this disease, along with several others as well as filth infections.

Identification

Adult rats are large and robust, being up to 16 inches from nose to tip of tail. Their tail length is shorter than their body length, and it is scaly and almost without hairs. Colors range from white to brown to mottled, or blackish gray, reddish brown, and other variations. In relation to its head it has a blunt nose, small eyes, and small ears.

Characteristics Important in Control

Habitat modification to eliminate harborage sites is effective, along with proper building maintenance to exclude their entry. Elimination of available interior and exterior food and water supplies is needed. The shyness these rats exhibit, affects the ability to gain control. Like the other domestic rodents they prefer to remain against vertical surfaces, in contact with their “guard hairs” on their body, and control measures should be placed against these pathways.

If you have a rodent problem and would like to have a Craig Thomas Pest Control representative speak to you, give us a call! Contact us by phone 800-255-6777, email for your free inspection today!

We at Craig Thomas Pest Control, Inc. are grateful to Univar Profession Products and Services for pest information incorporated into this work.

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