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Animal Hazards : Rats & Mice

Norway Rats

  • These rats are larger and more aggressive than the roof rat. As an adult the Norway Rat can weigh between 12-16 oz. with a body length of 6-8 inches long. The nose is blunt with small ears, and small eyes. The fur is shaggy and coarse with variation in colors. The tail is shorter than the head and body combined, and scaly.
  • They prefer foods with a high protein or carbohydrate content, but will eat almost any type of food. They need water to survive, unlike mice. The young rats reach sexual maturity in 2-3 months, females average 4-7litters a year, with 8-12 pups per litter. Adults live about a year.
  • They live in colonies. The Norway rat generally prefers to live in underground tunnels. On farms, they will be near a food source: barns, granaries, livestock buildings, and silos. In the cities, they will be in the ground in their is available space, but have been known live entirely inside buildings.
  • Rats will seek food outside, but many times will come inside at night to forage for food and return to their burrows. Needing a water source, they can obtain water from toilets, sinks, rain puddles, or condensation from utility pipes. Their nesting burrows on the outside are often along the foundation of walls. As the rat family grows, more burrows are built, resulting in a network of underground tunnels.
  • Inside, the Norway Rat commonly nest on the lower levels, but if the population is too large, they may be found in the attic and ceiling areas. Their nests are built from soft material like paper or grass chewed into small pieces.
  • Rats will climb if necessary to enter a building, the Norway Rat is an excellent swimmer. Rats are suspicious of changes in the environment or new foods, for this reason it may take a couple of days for traps or poison baits to take.
  • Rats are nocturnal, with their peak activity at dusk or before dawn. When the population is large or they are disturbed or hungry, you can see activity during the day.

Roof Rats

  • The Roof Rat is smaller and more slender than the bigger Norway Rat. The adults weigh about 5-9 ounces,7-10 inches long. The tail is longer than the head and body combined. They have large ears and a pointed nose. The fur is smooth, as opposed to the Norway rat with it's shaggy fur. Roof Rats droppings are spindle shaped instead of capsule shaped and the droppings reach about 1/4 inch in size. The tail markings and hind feet markings are the same.
  • They prefer seeds, nuts, fresh vegetables and fruits, but will eat meat and grain products. They become sexually mature in 2-3 months, with 4-6 litters per year, 4-8 pups per litter.
  • The Roof Rat is a climber, commonly nesting in areas above the ground: trees, vines, attics, ceiling voids, or in voids along the roof line. These rats enter your home much like squirrels. As their population grows they will nest in underground burrows.

House Mice

  • The adult house mouse is small and slender and about 1-2 inches long, excluding tail. It has large ears, pointed nose and small eyes. The tail is as long as the head and body combined. The fur color varies, but it is usually a light gray or brown, but could be darker shades.
  • Mice will eat almost anything, but prefer cereal grains, seeds, or sweet material. They require very little water, obtaining most of their water needs from their food.
  • If there are good living conditions(food, water, and shelter),they can multiply rapidly. They sexually mature in two months, producing about 8 litters in a one year life time. Each litter has 4-7 pups.
  • A house mice in a city environment may spend it's entire life in buildings. In rural and suburban settings, it may not only live inside, but be found outside near foundations, in the shrubbery, weeds, crawl spaces, basements, or in garages.
  • They survive well on weeds, seeds, or insects, but when their food supply is shortened by the colder months they move inside nesting closer to a food supply. They make their nest from soft material like paper, insulation, or furniture stuffing. These nest are found in many places including: in walls, ceiling voids, storage boxes, drawers, under major appliances, or within the upholstery of furniture. Outside the nests are found in debris or in ground burrows.
  • Mice while being "nibblers" eating many times at different places, they do have two main meal times...just before dawn and at dusk...they simply "snack" at other times at intervals or every 1-2 hours. They can eat about 10 to 15% of their body weight every day, the adults weighing about 5/8-1 oz. They get much of there water from food products.

::Health Risks

  • Rats are transmitters of Mume Typhus fever, rat bite fever leptospiressis, trichinosis, salmonellas, melioidosi, brucellosis, tuberculosis, pastuerellosis, reckettsial and viral diseases. Norway Rats can also carry the rabies virus.

::Other Risks

::Removal & Treatment

  • The droppings are 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length, capsule shaped, with blunt ends. They are usually a shiny black, but may vary according to their diets. Norway rats and Roof Rats will leave a hind foot track of about 3/4-1 inch where a mouse's track measure's 3/8 of an inch or less. Rats will also drag their tails, leaving a mark between their feet tracks.
  • Gnawing holes from rats are about 2 inches or more in diameter. They have rough edges. They prefer to gnaw on wood, but can damage electrical wiring. Rat burrows can be found along foundations, or beneath rubbish and shrubbery. If the burrow is active it usually clear of vegetation. Rat runways are smooth and well packed. Indoors, these runways are free of dust and dirt.
  • All Openings Greater Than 1/2 Inch will be sealed

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Top 5 Calls

1. Bats
2. Bees
3. Snakes
4. Rats
5. Squirrels

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Rats can jump 2 feet vertically, 4 feet horizontally, and fall 50 feet without injury.


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