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Rat & Mice Education 

Rats & Mice FAQ's

  • Rats memorize specific pathways and use the same routes habitually.
  • Rats can get into your home through a hole the size of a quarter.
  • Rats damage structures, chew wiring and cause electrical fires, eat and urinate on human and animal food, and carry many serious diseases.
  • Thousands of rat bites are reported each year in the U.S. alone. Many go unreported.
  • Accidental poisoning occur among humans and pets from poorly planned efforts to poison rats.
  • Within urban areas, rats derive their life support from waste-management systems and food processing and storage areas. Rats rely predominantly on smell, taste, touch and hearing as opposed to vision. They move around mainly in the dark, using their whiskers and guard hairs on their body to guide them.
  • Rats are cautious, and if their food is in an exposed area where it cannot be consumed quickly, they carry or drag it to a hiding place.
  • Rats have an excellent sense of taste, enabling them to detect certain compounds, including rat poisons, at extremely low concentrations very quickly.
  • Rats are omnivorous, eating nearly any type of food, including dead and dying members of their own species.
  • Of all the mouse species that invade human structures, only the house mouse usually becomes a long-term inhabitant if not controlled.
  • Mice are capable of being transported for long periods of time in closed containers, such as boxes, trunks or barrels.
  • There are believed to be about 300 separate varieties of house mice in the United States.
  • The house mouse has a protective mechanism that responds to environmental stress-excessive heat for example-by inducing a torpor or dormancy that conserves its physiological reserves.
  • In six months, one pair of mice can eat about four pounds of food and produce some 18,000 fecal droppings.
  • Mice are not blind but have a bad vision and cannot see beyond about six inches, but can detect movement quite well.

Rat and Mice Biology

House Mouse (Mus Musculus)

Small and slender, three to four inches long, with large ears, small eyes and pointed nose; light brown or light gray; droppings are rod-shaped.

Nest within structures and burrow; establish a "territory" near food sources, generally 10-30 feet from nest; inquisitive, but very wary; excellent climbers.

Omnivorous, prefer cereal grains.

Prolific breeders at two months; can have litters as often as every 40-50 days, with four to seven young per litter; live up to one year.

Other Information:
Feed 15 to 20 times per day; can squeeze through a hole one-fourth inch wide; carry many serious diseases.

Norway Rat (Rattus Norvegicus)

Brown, heavy-bodied, six to eight inches long; small eyes and ears blunt nose; tail is shorter than head and body; fur is shaggy; droppings are capsule-shaped.

Nest in underground burrows, from which they enter buildings in search of food; tend to remain in hiding during the day.

Omnivorous, but prefer meats; cannot survive long without water.

Reaches sexual maturity in two months; can breed any month of the year; litter may number from eight to twelve; females can have four to seven litters per year; adults live as long as one year.

Other Information:
Most common rat in U.S.; limited agility, but excellent swimmer; carrier of many serious diseases.

Roof Rat (Rattus Rattus)

Black or brown, seven to ten inches long, with a long tail and large ears and eyes, with a pointed nose; body is smaller and sleeker than Norway rat; fur is smooth.

Nests inside and under buildings, or in piles of rubbish or wood; excellent climber; can often be found in the upper parts of structures.

Omnivorous, but show a preference for grain, fruits, nuts and vegetables.

Becomes sexually mature at four months; four to six litters per year; four to eight young per litter; live up to one year.

Other Information:
Very agile; can squeeze through openings only 1/2 inch wide; carry many serious diseases.