Rodents have always been a nuisance to humans. Ranging from squirrels to woodchucks and now rats and mice, they present a dangerous threat to humans; either to his health or to his property.
Due to the old designs of houses in North America, rats and mice used to invade attics and basements. And it is absolutely critical when you get rat or mice invasion to get rid of them.
In fact, other types of rodents will just damage your backyard or some of your trees and their detection is easy thanks to their large size. On the opposite, rats and mice live inside your house and gain entry to it by the drainage tubes. They are the dirtiest creatures and they carry dirty habits. It is unbearable to have a rat or a mouse inside your house.
“I once spent a whole week without sleeping because I saw a mouse in the attic.” said a California homeowner.
Who doesn’t hate rats or mice? They are naturally disgusting and the way they look or they smell is sickening.
What are the physical and biological aspects of rats and mice?
Rats are relatively small rodents related to other rodents such as squirrels or groundhogs. There are more than 60 species of rats in the world and the most commonly known types of rats are black rats and brown rats.
Rats are generally found with a medium size as a rodent: females weigh 0.77 to 1 pound (350 to 450 grams) and males weigh 1 to 1.43 pounds (450 to 650 grams); in length, rats are generally 9 to 11 inches (23 to 28 centimeters) long with a tail addition of 7 to 9 inches (18 to 23 centimeters).
- Rats have a broad, stubby, round and large head which contains a flat, large and blunt muzzle with a small pink nose.
- The rat’s ears are small when compared to the head and they are straight.
- Rats have thick short tails (not very short but shorter than the body)
Brown rats (Norvegicus Rattus) are bigger than black rats (Rattus Rattus).
Mice can be considered as the world’s smallest rodents characterized with their tiny body. There are 30 known species of mice in the world and they are widespread all over the world. The most commonly known species are house mouse, laboratory mouse and field mouse.
Mice are generally small rodents which weigh roughly 0.35 to 0.88 ounces (10 to 25 grams) and are 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10 centimeters) long with a 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) long tail addition.
- Mice have a small and triangular head which contains a narrow pointed muzzle with a little sharp pink nose.
- Mouse’s ears are large relative to the head and the have small fur on them.
- Mice have long thin tails (longer than their bodies).
What are the differences between rats and mice?
In conclusion, rats and mice belong to the same family of Muroidea but they are different species and they carry a lot of differences in the aspect.
The most identifiable differences are as follows:
- Rats are way bigger than mice: a single rat can weigh 10 times as a mouse. Besides, rats have a larger size: a single rat is approximately 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) longer than a mouse.
- Rats have thick and short tails relative to their body while mice have thin and long tails relative to their body.
- Rats have straight and small ears relative to their head while mice have round and big ears relative to their head.
- Rats have flat and blunt muzzles and mice have triangular and narrow muzzle.
- Rats’ feet are bigger than mice’s feet relative to the body. Especially front hinds.
What are the behavioral characteristics of rats and mice?
While rats and mice are tiny animals which can be caught and studied easily, many experiments have been done on these species, and many experts declared theoretical laws over the study of these species, which allows us nowadays to discover the most specific behavioral characteristics of rats and mice.
They don’t have much to hide but they are also so special.
Black rats are most likely to be found in warm regions and they are most distributed in the southern half of Africa, Asia, and Australia. Brown rats are more likely to exist in cool and cold areas and it is the most common species of rats, well known by its wide distribution all over the world.
House mice live mostly in cool areas such as North Africa, Europe, Asia and North America and these long tailed rodents like to live beside humans.
Rats, either black or brown or house rats, are generally omnivores, but they like meat and that’s why they scavenge food from the trash and they like any kind of left meat in the trash.
In opposite, mice are also omnivores but they like to eat cereals and seeds.
More specifically, black rats eat 15 grams a day of any kind of food they get and drink 15 milliliters. Brown rats like to eat scrambled eggs, cheese and cereals and it consumes an average of 50 grams of food a day.
Mice can also feed on their feces as it was recycled via bacteria in their intestines.
Rats are well socialized rodents, especially brown rats which like to groom each other and nest together to provide the need of temperature. They also work together to defend their colonies from predator and dangerous factors.
Mice, in opposite, are not so sociable. They are very territorial and defending when another mouse or intruder get to its territory. That’s why male-male aggression is high inside low-scale territories, while female-female aggression is very low, because females can co-exist in the same nest and they are aggressive only when their young are in danger.
Rats are well known by their fast ability of breeding throughout the year. A single female brown rat can breed 5 litters a year and a single litter car reach up to 14 pups (commonly 7). With these high numbers, a brown rat’s nest can contain 40 rats by the end of the year and it would be very dangerous for the house. The gestation period of brown rats is 21 days long.
House mice are also so fast in reproducing, faster than rats. Males find female house mice by following pheromones (ultrasonic calls). A single female house mouse can give birth to 5 to 10 litters per year with 3 to 14 pups per litter. This engenders the fast reproduction of mice in a specific location.
Rats and mice carry also some other sexual behaviors such as polygamy and polyandry.
A single rat can live up to 3 years in best conditions, while a house mouse reaches roughly 2 to 3 years in protected environments.
There is a dangerous mouse-killing behavior in rats called “muricide”: rats like to kill mice and eat them, while mice fear rats and consider their smell as a sign of danger. Mice use their urine to clarify their territories and protect them.
What are the consequences of rat or mouse infestation?
Rats and mice are dirty rodents that invade your house and bring lethal diseases. In addition to the health danger they engender, they consume a lot of house material such as wood, clothes, and food.
Rats and mice are a threat to the human’s health, they transmit lethal diseases such as: pneumonia, Weil’s disease, foot-and-mouth disease, and the most dangerous is plague, which is mainly carried by rats. In the past, a transmission of Plague in Europe during the 14th century caused the death of more than 200 million humans.
Rats and mice destroy the house structure by ingesting wood and even metal structural material. They consume 50 grams a day, but with a huge colony of many individuals, your house structure could be dangerously harmed.
They also ruin electric cables causing 25% of electric fire accidents in U.S.A. Besides, they don’t have a problem with gnawing drainage or water pipes causing fluids and leaks and maybe death when biting a gas pipe.
In addition to all this destructive behavior they carry, rats and mice can destroy your business, because when infesting a workplace, clients could not be satisfied and they would maybe never visit your workplace.
As you have an idea now about the damage these annoying mischievous rodents are able to make, you may think about getting rid of them and protecting your house forever. You can never live in peace with a rat or a mouse in your house. Therefore start managing for getting rid of them.
What are the signs of rat or mouse invasion?
Rats and mice, as any other pests, are responsible of much damage in your house, and this damage can be easily identified.
- Cracks in wooded material in your house can be a sign of a rat or mouse infestation. These rodents gnaw wood and make a serious damage to wood furniture.
- Damaged plumbing material: usually related to fluids and leaks inside the house, you should check your plumbing system and seek for damage in drainage or water pipes, these are the perfect entries for a mouse to a house.
- Damaged material in the attic: attics are usually used to store old clothes and are not regularly checked, attics are perfect homes for rats and mice, therefore, checking your stored material in the attic may lead you to an infestation, or maybe not if you are lucky.
- Rat and mouse feces: rats and mice consume a lot and the existence of bacteria inside of their intestines facilitate the digestion of food consumed, therefore, rat and mouse feces could be found all over the house. Beware of these feces; they are contaminated with serious diseases.
How to get rid of rats and mice in attic?
While rats and mice cause an unpleasant nuisance in the house and are responsible for serious damage, they should be treated and exterminated from the infested house.
Here are many ways to do this:
There are many pesticides specified to treat rats and mice called “rodenticides”. There are some rodenticide baits which are effective and bring satisfying results, but they won’t protect homes for a long period. The use of rodenticides must be followed by careful home protection to avoid future infestations.
Rodenticides contain lethal substances which are able to kill or repel rats and mice from the attic. House pets should be protected from consuming these rodenticides as not making them accessible to dogs and cats.
Many products can be found in the market, but the best are: NEOGEN RODENTICIDE Ramik Mouse and Rat Nuggets Pouch for $17.47 and Contrac Blox Rodenticide Mouse Control for $87.9 are available on Amazon.
Glue boards are also an effective way to treat rats and mice in the attic. They are the most appropriate for home use. They are boards which contain a trap glue and a toxic substance which kills the mouse by smelling it. It is not dangerous for pets or humans as it can be removed using mineral water.
Glue board products are available in the market for homeowners and they are easy to use. The best products are: Catchmaster 75M Pro Series Bulk Econo Mouse & Insect Glue Boards for $30, Trapper Max Mouse & Insect Glue Boards-72 Boards for $30.45
Traps are always the classic way to treat pests and catch destructive rodents such as rats and mice. This way is not effective in the presence of a huge colony but only when several mice are infesting the house.
Traps are small cages for rats and mice which get placed near to their nests and contain a bait (cheese is the best food used as a bait), when the rodent tries to get the bait, it gets caught or caged, and you can exterminate it yourself then.
Traps are not limited for professional use and they are available in the market for homeowners. The best rat and mouse traps’ products are: Trapper Max Mouse & Insect Glue Boards-72 Boards for $8 and Mice Cube 4 Pk – Reusable Humane Mouse Trap for $12.