Shopping Cart Summary

 

Total: $0.00

Continue Shopping

Rodent Reference Guide

Roof Rat | Norway Rat | Meadow Mouse | House Mouse

Common Name: Roof Rat

Latin Name: Rattus rattus

Common Family Name: Rats and Mice

Latin Family Name: Muridae

Other Names: Black rat, ship rat, house rat, tree rat, climbing rat, white-bellied rat. Also as two subspecies called the fruit rat (Rattus rattus frugivorous) and the Alexandrine Rat (R. r. alexandrinus).

Origin: Native to forested areas in Southeast Asia, but transported into Europe by caravans as early as the 11th century. It was the common structural rat in Europe during the Black Death episode in the 14th Century. It arrived in the United States somewhere in the 1500’s, although this is not certain. In the U.S. it is not as widespread as the Norway Rat, generally staying within 100 miles of a coastline, and occurring throughout cities from Washington to southern California, along the Gulf Coast and up the entire eastern seaboard.

Biology: The Roof Rat is an “arboreal” animal, preferring to live above ground level in trees, although it has adapted well to upper areas of structures as well, living in attics and traveling by means of wires and cables attached to homes. It is nocturnal and secretive, staying out of view within the foliage provided in landscaped environments, and feeding heavily on the fruits, nuts, vegetables, or garden snails found there. Like the Norway Rat is also is shy about new objects in its familiar environment, and may avoid control measures such as traps or bait stations. A normal life expectancy for them is one year or less, ranging from 5 to 18 months. The gestation period of the female is 22 days, litters average 8 to 9 pups, and she may have 3 to 4 litters in her one year, being somewhat less prolific than the Norway Rat. Peaks in breeding occur in the spring and the fall. Problems from Roof Rats include the potential for disease, such as plague, spread by their fleas. They are extremely destructive to stored food products in structures, crops in residential areas, and cause tremendous damage due to their gnawing on structural members, pipes, and electrical wires.

Identification: The Roof Rat is a smaller, slimmer rat than the Norway Rat, and cannot compete with the Norway when space is limited. Its tail is noticeably longer than its body length, the best ID characteristic in the field. In relation to its head it has a pointed nose, large eyes, and large ears. Its color is dark gray to black with a lighter grayish belly, and it ranges to a lighter brown depending on which “subspecies” is present.

Characteristics Important in Control: Exclusion from structures is of high importance in preventing entry and damage from this rat. They can enter through any opening wider than one half inch, swim well, and can climb any rough surface, along wires and cables, and can jump vertically about 3 feet. Glue trays work very well for Roof Rats, along with snap traps placed in runways and bait stations using various formulations. Like the other domestic rodents they prefer to remain against vertical surfaces, in contact with their “guard hairs” on their body, and control measures should be placed against these pathways.

Common Name: Norway Rat

Latin Name: Rattus norvegicus

Common Family Name: Rats and Mice

Latin Family Name: Muridae

Other Names: Brown rat, ship rat, wharf rat, sewer rat, gray rat, barn rat, burrowing rat, water rat, common rat, house rat, migratory rat, wander-rat

Origin: Evolved in Central Asia, but reached Europe in the 1700’s, the United States later that century, and now it is found throughout the world. It is a rodent of cooler climates, but now also infests many tropical environments as well, primarily in the seaport areas.

Biology: This rat is commonly sold as a “pet rat”, and has been bred for white coloration as “lab rats” as well, leading to the occurrence of white and brown marked races. It is primarily a ground dweller, although it can climb very well, and prefers to reside in burrows. It swims very well and often lives in sewers and other underground water systems. It is primarily a nocturnal animal, and will restrict its range of movement only to that which is needed to find food and water, perhaps only 20 or 30 from home. Norway Rats are omnivores and opportunistic feeders, feeding on any natural or human foods available. They are neophobic and may avoid new objects placed in their environment for some time. A normal life expectancy for them is one year or less, although when cared for they may live several years. The gestation period of the female is 22 days, litters average 8 to 9 pups, and she may have several litters in her one year. Damage from gnawing can be extensive, as they chew on pipes of plastic or metal, wires, wood, or furnishings and walls, and commonly bite humans. While not the primary reservoir of bubonic plague, they have the potential to spread this disease, along with several others as well as filth infections.

Identification: Adult rats are large and robust, being up to 16 inches from nose to tip of tail. Their tail length is shorter than their body length, and it is scaly and almost without hairs. Colors range from white to brown to mottled, or blackish gray, reddish brown, and other variations. In relation to its head it has a blunt nose, small eyes, and small ears.

Characteristics Important in Control: Habitat modification to eliminate harborage sites is effective, along with proper building maintenance to exclude their entry. Elimination of available interior and exterior food and water supplies is needed. Burrows may be treated by fumigation in some circumstances, and the use of traps and baiting are highly effective. The shyness these rats exhibit toward new objects can affect the response to bait boxes and traps. Glue trays may not be highly effective due to the strength of this species, and its ability to pull free from the glue. Like the other domestic rodents they prefer to remain against vertical surfaces, in contact with their “guard hairs” on their body, and control measures should be placed against these pathways.

Common Name: Meadow mouse

Latin Name: Microtus spp.

Common Family Name: Rats and Mice

Latin Family Name: Muridae

Other Names: Vole, field mouse, meadow vole

Origin: At least 84 species in this genus, with Microtus pennsylvanicus most prevalent east of the Rocky Mountains and north into central Alaska, and M. californicus most common in the western states. These are native animals.

Biology: Favored foods are fresh foliage and flowers in the warm months, seeds and grains in cold months, or even the bark of young plants and trees in the winter. Voles may be very destructive to grain and vegetable crops. Nesting is done is burrows in shallow soil or in thick grass and vegetation, and distinct runways are created above ground as the mice travel and forage. Breeding can be done year round, with the highest activity from March until November, and mating takes place immediately following the birth of a litter. There is an average of around 6 young per litter, and the potential exists for a breeding pair beginning in the spring to result in almost 3000 mice by the fall. There can be up to 10 litters per year, and population explosions result about every 4 years.

Identification: Color ranges from dark brown to dark reddish brown, with a lighter grayish belly. The tail is very slightly haired and is much shorter than the body length. The ears are small and covered with hair, distinguishing them easily from the House Mouse. Adults can be up to 6 inches long and they are robust, densely haired animals. Outdoor activity is identified by the distinct runways in grassy areas or turf, along with the damage to plantings in landscaped areas. They are prone to invade lush landscape when their natural areas and grassy fields dry out in the summer.

Characteristics Important in Control: Bait placements should be made as close to burrows as possible, but scattering of granular baits where legal and appropriate may be effective, and bait placements within tamper-resistant stations in landscape areas is preferred. Trapping may be done by setting traps in runways. Fumigation with burrow fumigants is not normally an effective option due to the nature of the shallow burrows, or nests only in vegetation.

Common Name: House mouse

Latin Name: Mus musculus

Common Family Name: Rats and mice

Latin Family Name: Muridae

Other Names: Field mouse

Origin: This species originated in Eastern Asia in arid grasslands, allowing it to evolve the ability to survive without needing frequent water. It now occurs throughout the world.

Biology: A prolific breeder, the House Mouse is sexually mature at 2 months old, has a gestation period of only 3 weeks, and averages 5 to 8 young per litter, but potentially up to 15. Each female may give birth to 8 litters. The life span can be from 2 to 3 years. The House Mouse is a nibbler, consuming small quantities of food at many feedings. They are “curious”, and tend to investigate new objects that are placed in their environment. Favored foods may be grains, dried fruits, nuts, and sweet materials. They are known reservoirs of diseases such as rickettsial pox (mites), typhus (fleas), and filth problems with Salmonella, tapeworm, roundworm, and others parasites.

Identification: Adults remain small, less than 7 inches long from tip of nose to tip of tail. They have hairless, scaly tails that separate them from meadow or deer mice, and ears relatively bare of hairs. A young rat looks similar to the House Mouse, but the rat has feet and eyes that are disproportionately large in comparison with its head and body.

Characteristics Important in Control: The full complement of traps and baits are effective on mice. Exclusion should consider closing any openings as wide as ¼ inch, along with elimination of any harborage sites that are not needed, such as waste piles, packing boxes, wood piles, or heavy outside vegetation. Like the other domestic rodents they prefer to remain against vertical surfaces, in contact with their “guard hairs” on their body, and control measures should be placed against these pathways.

epestsolutions is an Upfront Merchant on TheFind. Click for info.