If you are looking for information on rodents, than you have come to the right location to learn about the most significant pests to humans. Worldwide, the largest rodent family order Rodentia has over 1,700 species and the rodent family Muridae, commensal rats, has approximately over 500 species. The commensal rodents, (meaning: to share the table) are the most common to structures such as the house mouse, norway rat and the roof rat.
The commensal rodent, house mouse, norway rat and roof rat are the most common around homes and businesses. Commensal rodents requires suitable harborage, warmth, food and water and these essentials are normally found where humans inhabit structures. These rodents have poor eye sight and are color blind beyond three feet. They are very sensitive to motion 30 - 50 feet away, but very light colored or reflective objects may stand out. Their keen senses such as smell, taste, touch and hearing are excellent.
- Smell - Odor is one of the rodents most important senses. They mark objects and pathways with urine or glandular secretions. These markings allows for rodents to recognize the odors of pathways from and to food sources, differentiate between members of their own family or strangers and members of the opposite sex who are ready to mate.
- Taste - Rodents have a highly developed sense of taste which allows them to detect some chemicals at parts per million concentrations.
- Touch - Rodents have a highly developed sense of touch due to very sensitive body hairs and whiskers which they use to explore their environment. They prefer a stationary object on least one side of them as they travel and commonly move along walls.
- Hearing - Rodents using hearing to locate objects to within a few inches. Rats and mice have a frequency range approximately 50-60 kilohertz, which is much higher than humans who have a range of about 20 kilohertz.
Rodents, from a standing position can jump three feet and drop from heights of 50 feet without injury. On occasions, if a rodent can't get around an object, they will go through it by gnawing through a variety of materials. These materials include aluminum siding, cinderblocks, glass and lead sheathing. Rodents can virtually squeeze through very small openings, 1/2" for rats and 1/4" for mice. With all of these sensory abilities, rodents are able to adapt to man's changing environment over hundreds of years.
Rodents cause considerable amount of damage to property and structures when seeking a harboraging area. They are highly destructive in the contamination of stored food meant for humans, livestock and pets. Over hundreds of years, rodents have been known as carriers of plagues, Black Death and Bubonic plague. Rodents are also capable of transmitting pathogens that cause numerous diseases such as salmonellosis, approximately over 2,000 different strains have been identified. Disease organisms (pathogens) may be transmitted directly through a rodent's bite, carried from the rodent, vectored, by a flea, tick or a mite which bites people and then transfers the pathogen, or by direct contamination of food or water with the rodents feces or urine.
- Visually inspect for any opening larger than 1/4" in diameter. These openings are normally found around pipes, roof vents and pipes, dryer vents, underhang attic vents, ac pipes etc.
- Avoid stored articles to structures foundation walls.
- Avoid stored wood piles on your property.
- Keep all garbage containers secured with lids.
- Eliminate all loose trash and stored articles on exterior of property.
- Prune back tree limbs and palm trees away from the structure at least 6 feet.
- Inspect garage and door entry areas for possible openings.
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Roof Rat Norway Rat House Mouse
Sleek and graceful Large and robust Small and slender
Weight 8 to 12 ounces 10 to 17 ounces 1/2 to 3/4 ounces
Length 13 to 18 inches 12 to 18 inches 6 to 8 inches
Snout Pointed Blunt Pointed
Ears Large, nearly naked Small, with short hair Large
Eyes Large Small Small
Tail Dark, Longer than body Dark, 3/4 of body length Dark
Fur Smooth. Gray to black. Shaggy. Brown w/ black Smooth. Light brown
Underneath gray or black Underneath gray to yellow Underneath gray to white
Food Omnivorous Omnivorous Cearals and grains
Water Available water Available water Water from food
Climbing Agile climber Not agile, can climb Good climber
Swimming Not fond of water Excellent swimmer Can swim
Droppings Spindle shaped- 1/2" Capsule shaped-3/4"-1" Spindle shaped- 1/4"
Nests Trees, attics Burrows under structures Stored materials
Life span 9 to 12 months 9 to 12 months 9 to 12 months
Maturity 2 to 3 months 2 to 3 months 6 weeks
Litters 6 to 10 8 to 12 5 to 6
Litters/year 6 Litters 7 litters 8 litters