Mouse Control

Rodents

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Rodents

Rodents make up the most numerous group of mammals, with 2277 species, accounting for 41% of the known mammals. They are a very diverse group in both size and habitat, ranging from the South American capybara weighing up to 145lbs, to the Baluchistan pygmy jerboa, the female adults of which weigh less than one tenth of a pound.

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Types of rodents

Rodents are found on every continent except Antarctica. They live in a wide range of different habitats from snow-covered tundra to hot deserts. Some species of rodent are also common invaders of the human environment:

  • rats.
  • mice.
  • voles.
  • squirrels.
  • marmots.
  • hamsters.
  • guinea pigs.
  • gophers.
  • prairie dogs.
  • porcupines.
  • beavers.
  • capybaras.
  • but not rabbits, hares and shrews

There are over 200 species of rodent in North America, over 70 species in Malaysia and India, but just 10 native species in the British Isles.

Characteristics of Rodents

The distinguishing feature of rodents is a pair of continuously growing, incisor teeth in their upper and lower jaw. These teeth grow throughout the life of the rodent so it must continuously wear them down to prevent them becoming too long.

Rodents are known to be the following, depending on their species:

  • arboreal;
  • burrowing
  • semi aquatic.

They use a variety of different methods of locomotion including quadrupedal walking, running, climbing, bipedal hopping, swimming and gliding. Some are nocturnal and some are diurnal.

Rodents tend to be social animals, living in small to very large colonies. They also have the ability to breed rapidly in favorable conditions, which is one of the reasons why they are such a concern when you have an infestation in your home or business.

The majority of rodents are herbivores, feeding on seeds, nuts, roots, tubers, stems, leaves, flowers and fruit. Some are omnivores; eating meat such as insects opportunistically and a small number are carnivores.

Useful rodents

Rodents are not just pests; they have been used throughout history for food, fur, and more recently as pets and laboratory animals. Guinea pigs were a major meat source for the Incas, while dormice were a delicacy of the Romans, who kept them in special pots and enclosures. Many cultures around the world still eat wild rodents because they are readily available sources of meat.

Rodents as pets

There are a wide range of different types of rodents are kept as pets by humans, they usually tend to be small rodents, but can grow quite large depending on the level of food they are provided with.

Rodents used as pets include:

  • guinea pigs;
  • mice;
  • rats;
  • hamsters;
  • gerbils;
  • chinchillas;
  • degus;
  • chipmunks.

Rodent damage

One of the main problems with a rodent infestation is the damages they cause. Rodents are curious creatures and will often explore new areas in the search of food.

Rodents cause immense economic losses worldwide by:

  • Consuming, damaging and contaminating food in the field, in storage throughout the food chain and in the home;
  • Damaging structures, buildings, bridges, sewers, and cabling etc, by gnawing and burrowing; and
  • Damaging and contaminating goods such as packaging, clothing, and furniture.

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