Common rodents found at home usually nest in the attic, basement, ceiling, and crawl spaces. They are notorious for chewing wires, destroying insulation, and causing structural damage to property. As a health risk, rodents can contaminate food in pantries and cupboards, which leads to the spread of disease.
In the U.S., the most common rodents found at home are roof rats and Norway rats. Both belong to the genus Rattus, are similar in size and appearance, and enter human living spaces looking for food and protection from extreme weather.
- Norway Rats
Norway rats are sometimes called super rats because of their massive size – they can grow up to 16 inches in length! Norway rats are grayish brown in color and feed on cereal grains, seeds, meat, fruits, shrimp, and cockroaches.
They are nocturnal animals that become most active 30 minutes after sunset. Norway rats thrive in lower sections of a building including foundations, woodpiles, basements, sewers, and burrows in soil.
- Roof Rats
In contrast, roof rats are found in elevated spaces such as attics and ceilings. Infestation puts your electrical wiring at risk as roof rats often gnaw on cables that could possibly lead to power outages and fires.
Black to brownish gray in color and around 6 to 8 inches long, roof rats will live in close proximity to humans as long as there is food and shelter. Their diet consists of seeds, fruits, berries, meat, eggs, and vegetables.
Roof rats do most of their damage in coastal cities – they are rarely spotted more than 100 miles inland. Like Norway rats, roof rats are nocturnal pests that start to look for food when it goes dark.
- House Mice
The common house mouse is the smallest in this list. Dusty gray in color and just around 3 inches in length, house mice are so flexible that they only need a quarter of an inch of opening to be able to enter a home.
Excellent sense of sight, smell, touch and hearing has made the house mouse highly adaptable to any environment. They feed on seeds, cereal, grains, and meat. They are often found in cluttered corners and base voids of appliances.
Woodrats are also called packrats because they are particularly fond of shiny objects. Around 7 to 17 inches long in brown, gray and black varieties, woodrats often chew on furniture, beddings, wires, conduits, paper products, fruit trees, and garden crops.
These rodents are known carriers of disease and can do some serious damage to your home without proper pest control. Woodrat nests are commonly found in porches, sheds, attics, soffits, ceilings, and walls.
- Deer Mice
The deer mouse is one of the most dangerous pests to have in your home as it can transmit a wide variety of diseases to humans. This rural rodent is known to carry strains of the deadly Hantavirus, which has caused numerous fatalities in the country.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is a respiratory ailment that is contracted from being bitten by an infected rat or by simply breathing in air that is contaminated with rodent droppings. You can easily spot a deer mouse by its color – brown body with white chest and feet.
Around 4 inches in length, these rodents feast on seeds, grains, nuts, and fruit that wreak havoc on grain silos and storage bins. They are prolific breeders that live in barns, ledges, decks, and burrows, posing a serious health risks for humans and pets.
What to Do if Your Home is Infested with Rodents?
Rats are great at hiding but you can easily tell if you have a rodent infestation by looking out for these signs:
- Shredded paper or fabric
- Rodent droppings in drawers or cupboards
- Chewing marks on food packaging
- Holes chewed through walls, floors, and ceilings
- Stale smell in hidden areas
Don’t wait for your rat problem to become a full blown rodent infestation. Call a professional pest control expert today.
Written by BugOut Pest Control & Lawn Care. BugOut Pest Control & Lawn Care offers the best service for pest control in Columbia, MO.