Rodents are among the most successful of all mammals. The word rodent means “to gnaw”. These three species are classified as commensal (sharing, living with) but more appropriately they steal humans’ food, health, possessions and safety.
- Rats are excellent swimmers; they can swim ½ mile in open water, travel through sewer systems and tread water for three days.
- Roof rats and mice are excellent climbers
- Rats can jump vertically three feet from a standing position.
- Rodents can fall from a height of 50 feet without injury.
- Rats can chew through lead, cinderblock, brick, mortar, aluminum, wood, glass, vinyl and improperly cured concrete.
- Rats and mice can’t see beyond 3 or 4 feet but they have keen senses of smell, touch and hearing. This is why they are more active in the dark.
- Rodents’ taste allows them to detect some chemicals at parts – per million concentrations.
- Rats and mice use smell to recognize pathways to and from food and harborage, to differentiate colony members and strangers, to tell members of the opposite sex who are ready to mate and to tell whether a stranger is strong or weak.
- Rats and mice have a highly developed sense of touch from whiskers and sensitive body hairs. They like to touch and smell familiar objects in their home territory and when they explore.
- Rats and mice are important vectors of diseases by contaminating people’s food or animal’s (that people may eat) food with feces and urine and or bacteria picked up from sewers, cesspools, garbage, carrion etc. Some examples include salmonellosis & campylobacteriosis (severe food poison). Rat bite fever is present in the saliva in a rodent’s bite. Typhoid and dysentery are two other diseases they can spread.
- Rats and mice indirectly cause disease by fleas and mites who bite them and then thy bite people. Some examples are plague, murine typhus and ricketsetta pox.
- The house mouse is the number one pest in the world because it is so social, adaptable and requires very little food and space. They live 1-2 years, have 4-7 pups per litter and can have a litter every 28 days. Babies mature in about eight weeks.
- The Norway rat is social, larger than the roof rat and lives in colonies. It has a life span of one to three years, is associated with earthen burrows outside near structures, lives in lower levels within structures (will move up if large infestation), has 8-12 pups per litter and has four to seven litters per year. The young mature in 8-12 weeks.
- The roof rat is smaller and sleeker than the roof rat and they live in higher areas. They produce 4-8 pups per litter but other biological factors are similar to that of the Norway rat.
- Rats and mice can and will eat almost anything (plant or animal) to meet their nutritional needs. Rats need free standing water, mice can meet their water needs if necessary from their food intake alone.
- As with any type of pest problem a thorough, all inclusive inspection to determine the type of rodent, nesting areas, feeding patterns and the degree of infestations paramount.
- Baits should not be used initially so that rats and mice won’t crawl away to die in inaccessible areas thereby creating noxious odors as they decay.
- The best long term solution is to ascertain all points of entry and begin a comprehensive trapping program.
- Simultaneously an exclusion (build-out) to all these entries and potential entries should be executed followed by interior trapping to make sure no rodents are trapped inside.
- Rat and mice exclusions are done using materials that rodents can’t chew through i.e galvanized steel flashing and hardware cloth, properly cured cement, steel reinforced caulks, etc.
- Ask about PCA’s rat and mouse exclusion warranty and on-going rodent reduction programs for habitats with a high degree of exterior rodent populations