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house mouseHOUSE MICE
Mus domesticus

House mice are light brown or light gray, with large ears and small eyes. Adults are slender and about 2"- 3" in length, their tails are about 3"- 4" in length.

The house mouse is the most common rodent pest in most parts of the world. It can breed rapidly throughout the year and adapt quickly to changing conditions. They live in structures, but they can live outdoors.

Although house mice prefer to feed on cereal grains, they will eat a wide variety of food. Mice can squeeze through spaces as small as a nickel. They are excellent climbers, able to climb up to countertops, shelving, and open cupboards without ado. Pantry stocks should be stored in mouse-proof containers, such as hard plastic, glass or metal. Pet foods should also be stored in mouse-proof storage containers.

House mice can carry fleas, ticks, mites, and lice, all hazardous to both humans and their companion animals. Each mouse can contaminate ten-times more food than it eats. Mouse droppings are rod-shaped, and exposure to their droppings and/or urine can cause very serious microbial diseases.

House mice reach maturity in only six-to-ten weeks, at which time they can become highly prolific breeders. They can have litters of four-to-seven offspring, as often as every 40-to-50 days. In just 4 months, one breeding pair with constant access to food and water can produce up to 200 offspring, between first-, second- and third generation mice. Adult house mice can live up to a full year.

norway ratNORWAY RATS
Rattus norvegicus

Norway rats are gray, brown or black, and are 10 -12" long including the tail. These rats have smaller eyes and ears and shorter tails than the Roof Rat.

Rats are excellent climbers and often enter a home in the fall when outside food sources become scarce. Norway rats live in fields, farm lands and in structures. Rats are often found in woodpiles. Rodents can gain entry to a home through a hole the size of a quarter.

In addition to invading homes, they are a particular problem around warehouses, urban areas, and agricultural buildings. They prefer meats, but are fully omnivorous. They cannot survive for long without a water source.

Rats can chew through wiring, causing fires. They also harbor numerous diseases. They can also introduce disease-carrying parasites such as fleas, lice and ticks into your home. Rat urine and droppings (capsule shaped) contain microbes that can cause very serious illnesses. Because of the potential health concerns, anyone suspecting a rat problem in their home or business should contact a pest professional immediately.

Rats reach sexual maturity at only two months old, and can be very prolific breeders during any month of the year. One litter can produce eight-to-twelve offspring, and females can have four-to-seven litters per year. Adult Norway rats can live up to one year.

Rats are instinctively wary of traps and bait, and colonize in attics, burrows, under concrete and porches, and in wall voids and other hard to reach places, which makes controlling them difficult. They normally hide during daylight hours, and avoid brightly lit spaces.

Care should be taken in food preparation and storage areas to secure pantry stocks in rat-proof containers such as hard plastic, glass, or metal. Pet foods are extremely attractive to rats, and so the same storage rules apply. Any leaky plumbing should be repaired to avoid providing rats a constant water source. If food and water are in constant supply indoors, once established, they will usually remain in the controlled indoor environment rather than returning to outdoor burrows.

ROOF RATS
Rattus rattus

Roof rats get their name from their tendency to be found in the upper parts of buildings. They range in size from 6 to 8 inches in length, with an equally long tail. They do have extremely strong senses of hearing, smell, touch and taste.
black roof rat

Roof rats are known for the damage they cause by chewing on materials and eating stored foods. Roof rats can be found in the upper parts of buildings, and can also be found under, in and around structures. They only need a space of one-half inch to get into buildings.

Rats are instinctively wary of traps and bait, and colonize in attics, burrows, under concrete and porches, in wall voids and other hard to reach places, frequently making eradication difficult. They normally hide during daylight hours, and avoid brightly lit spaces.

Rats can harbor and transmit a number of serious diseases. They can also introduce disease-carrying parasites such as fleas, lice and ticks into your home. Rat urine and droppings (capsule shaped) contain microbes that can cause very serious illnesses. Because of the potential health concerns, anyone suspecting a rat problem in their home or business should contact a pest professional immediately.

Roof rats secured their place in history by spreading the highly dangerous bubonic plague. They support many ectoparasites and urinate on food.

Roof rats become sexually mature at four months. One litter can have four-to-eight offspring, and they can bear four-to-six litters per year. Roof rats live up to one year.

Roof rats prefer grains, fruits, and nuts. They cannot survive for long without a water source. Care should be taken in food preparation and storage areas to secure pantry stocks in rat-proof containers such as hard plastic, glass, or metal. Pet foods are extremely attractive to rats, and so the same storage rules apply. Any leaky plumbing should be repaired to avoid providing rats a constant water source. If food and water are in constant supply indoors, once established, they will usually remain in the controlled indoor environment rather than returning to outdoor nests.

This page is intended as a quick reference. Pest experts should be contacted for case-by-case evaluation if you believe that you have a pest problem that requires professional assistance.

Some information found in this overview has been compiled from household pest information sheets published by the Ohio State University Extension Office: HYG-2099-97, and by the Penn State University Extension Office. This information is included on this web site strictly to help in the identification of various pests, and no profit is directly derived there from.

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