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Frequently Asked Questions About Rats and Mice

Rat and Mice

Rats and mice are ubiquitous; they can be found everywhere. It is estimated that there is one rat for every person living in the United States. Rats and mice are often referred to as domestic rodents because man unwittingly supplies their three basic needs: food, water and shelter.

As a trusted provider of pest control solutions, Ehrlich Pest Control strives to offer expert advice and answers to common rodent questions. We have listed below the answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding rodents.

Are you experiencing a rodent problem in your home or concerned about potential issues? Contact Ehrlich Pest Control today at (888) 976-4649 or sign up for a free pest inspection online.

Common Rodent Questions 

What are the differences between rats and mice?

Norway rats, roof rats and house mice are the three rodents known as domestic rodents. Rats weigh, at maturity, range between 5 oz to nearly 21 oz and are roughly 5 inches to 9 inches in length. Their tails, approximately 8 inches in length, are thick and heavy. Mice are much smaller than rats. House mice weigh between .5-1 ounce and are generally 2.5-3.75 inches long. A house mouse tail generally range 3-4 inches in length.

In terms of behavior, mice are curious creatures whereas rats are neophobic (meaning suspicious of their surroundings). Another important distinction behaviorally between rats and mice is that mice can extract water from food (as long as it is somewhat moist) whereas rats depend upon a separate water source to thrive. Additionally, rat droppings are about the size of a raisin whereas mice droppings are the size of rice grains. A musty odor is a classic sign that mice are present, but not rats.

What time of year are rodents most active indoors?

While rodents are active throughout the year, rats and mice become most active indoors in the fall when the temperatures decrease and their food sources outdoors run low. However, once inside a building that provides a suitable habitat with food and water sources readily available, rodents will not be inclined to leave the building.

What time of day are rodents most active indoors?

Rodents are typically most active at night and are seldom seen during the day except when populations are exceedingly large. Due to this behavior, it can be difficult for homeowners to be aware of rodent problems. That is why it is crucially important to spot the signs of mice and rats during the day.

How do rodents get in the house?

Rats and mice will crawl through minuscule crevices, making it difficult to limit their movement. A mouse can crawl through any opening that a pencil can fit through.

What do rodents eat?

Rodents will eat anything that man or his animals eat. Rats for example will eat anything from meat, milk, candy, vegetables, soap, furs, leather, poultry, eggs, grains, seeds, fruit, nuts, snails, pet food, grass seed, birdseed, garbage, dog feces and even other rodents.

Keeping food in tightly-sealed containers, removing pet food and water after feedings, picking up dog droppings on a daily basis, keeping garbage in a tightly-sealed trash are all good ways to avoid providing rodents with food sources in and around your house.

What attracts rats and mice?

When rats and mice are looking for suitable habitat, rats and mice will thrive where their two requirements of food and water are nearby. Poor sanitation is one of the basic reasons for the continued existence of moderate to high rodent populations in urban and suburban areas. We always encourage our customers to practice good sanitation, including proper storage and handling of food materials, animal feed and garbage to minimize or eliminate available food resources for rodents.

Do rats and mice get along?

Rats and mice can occupy the same general environment (i.e. they can both be present at the same location). However, they will likely not coexist in close proximity as a population of rats will most likely out-compete a population of mice for resources. Furthermore, rats, due to their larger size, may also prey upon smaller mice if given the opportunity or out of necessity due to limited food resources.

Why do rodents need to chew?

Gnawing is part of a necessary survival mechanism for rodents to allow access to nest sites, nesting material, food, and water. While their teeth do continue to grow, the primary purpose of gnawing is not to keep their teeth “trimmed”; it’s for resource acquisition.

Do rodents carry diseases?

Rats spread such diseases as: hantavirus, rat bite fever, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, trichinosis and typhus.

How do rodents spread disease?

Rodents can spread disease in a number of different ways. For example, hantavirus is spread when people breath in the dust that has been contaminated by aerosolized rodent droppings. Just one rat can leave behind 25,000 droppings in one year. As is the case with hantavirus, direct contact and being bitten by a rodent can also spread disease.

Rodents can also spread diseases such as salmonellosis and leptospirosis when humans eat food that has been contaminated by rodent urine or fecal matter. As is the case with plague, rodents can also spread disease to fleas and ticks which in turn can spread the disease to humans.

Can rats and mice cause asthma?

There is a protein in rodent urine that has been found to trigger asthma attacks and asthma related symptoms. Recent studies have shown that mouse sensitization as a top inner city asthma driver in some urban areas in the United States. One study found mouse allergen is present in 82% of American homes.

FREE Home Rodent Inspections 

If you have more rodent-related questions, feel free to contact Ehrlich Pest Control at (888) 976-4649. You can also sign up for a free rodent inspection to have a technician survey your property free of charge.

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