Roof Rat

 

Nests inside and under buildings, or in piles of rubbish or wood. Excellent climber that can often be found in the upper parts of structures. Roof rats are highly adaptable. They prefer to live in high places, but may live in a variety of environments. They are nocturnal by nature and are accomplished climbers. As their name suggests, roof rats may be found in elevated areas such as trees, rafters, attics and roofs. Roof rats can also nest on the ground if necessary. They prefer to consume fruits (sometimes referred to as the “fruit rat” or “citrus rat”) and nuts, although roof rats are omnivorous and will feed on almost anything available to them. These rodents have been known to consume tree bark, meat and grain. Roof rats are also food hoarders, stashing supplies of food such as seeds and nuts.Roof rats can be carriers of diseases. They can transmit these diseases through physical contact, bites, by contamination or by fleas that are feeding on the rodent.Historically, infected fleas have transmitted serious plagues from rats to humans. Bubonic plague was a scourge in Europe several times throughout history.

Deer Mice

 

Nests within hollow logs, tree holes, under piles of stones or logs. Most commonly associated with prairies or other rural, bushy or wooded areas. Avoids humans if indoors, preferring attics, basements or crawl spaces.

In winter, deer mice enter domestic spaces in search of food and warmth. Their nests are constructed of fur, weeds, seed and paper. Although they become sluggish during cold months, deer mice do not hibernate. Deer mice hoard food supplies and actively forage for food near their nesting sites.

Deer mice are primarily herbivorous, but will also consume other things. They prefers seeds, nuts, small fruits and berries, insects.

Deer mice may appear harmless, but they are known carriers of dangerous diseases such as hantavirus. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome can develop from inhaling the virus when deer mouse urine or feces is disturbed.

Cotton Rats

 

This rat is widespread across much of the country. Its range is from Florida to California and north to Virginia and Kansas. There have been reports of this rat as far north as Illinois.

Cotton rats are agricultural pests. They live in grassy areas and feed on plants. In some areas they have caused considerable damage to row crops. Cotton rats nest on the ground or in shallow burrows. They make trails in the grass where they travel.Cotton rats move readily from fields into lawns and gardens, especially in suburban and rural areas. Although cotton rats are not usually structural pests, they can invade buildings, especially if they find food available. Cotton rats can easily infest garages, barns, storage sheds and similar structures. The hispid cotton rat is medically important because it is a host for hantavirus. This virus results in hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS). The virus can become airborne when rat droppings or carcasses are disturbed. People who inhale the airborne virus can become infected. The cotton rat has also been found infected with plague and murine typhus.

House Mice

 

Normally, the house mouse makes its home in farm fields, grassy and wooded areas, building nests in areas that are dark and protected from the elements and close to a readily available food source.

Very inquisitive in nature, the house mouse will spend the day roaming its territory, exploring anything new or out of the ordinary. When available, the house mouse prefers seeds and nuts in its diet, but this opportunistic feeder will eat almost anything available.

When the temperatures outside begin to drop, house mice, since they don’t hibernate, begin searching for a warmer place to live. Often attracted by the smell of food and the warmth of a structure, the house mouse can use any opening, such as utility lines, pipe openings, and gaps beneath doors, to gain entry into a home. To prevent mice from entering the home, all cracks, crevices, holes and gaps larger than a pen cap should be sealed with cement or a mixing compound. It is not advised that wood be used to seal these holes, as mice are capable of chewing through those surfaces.Cleanliness may also have an effect on pest infestations. Be sure to wash dishes immediately following use. Food should be stored in glass or metal containers with tight lids. Mice acquire most of their water from scavenged food particles and no crumbs or morsels should be left on tabletops or floors.

Norway Rats

 

Norway rats typically nest in underground burrows from which they enter buildings in search of food. They tend to remain in hiding during the day.

Norway rats are omnivorous and feed on a variety of food sources. If given the choice, they will consume meats, fruits, grains and nuts. Dead animals also serve as a food source for these rats, and they are capable of catching small fish and rodents. They require water to drink, and they make their colony as close to a water source as possible. Norway rats live in communities with dominant and subordinate members, though they are not truly social like ants. To reduce food sources, garbage cans should have a secure lid and be emptied on a regular basis.

To reduce water sources, homeowners should fix plumbing leaks, remove outdoor containers retaining water and ensure spigots and sprinklers are not dripping. Homeowners should also seal up their homes. Windows and doors should not be left open, particularly overnight when rodents are most active. Rats can fit through an opening as small as ½ inch. Any gaps around doors, windows or chimneys should be closed. Dryer vents should have screen covers and tree branches touching the home should be trimmed. Removing the attractants and sealing up the home will help remove the welcome mat for Norway rats.