Rodents that live in close proximity to humans are called commensal rodents. Commensal rodents are destructive pests that can spread disease, contaminate food and destroy property making them a great economic and public health threat. In Southern California, the most common commensal rodents are Norway rats, Roof rats, House mice and deer mice.
House mice are typically light gray in color, and grow up to seven inches long from nose to end of tail. The house mouse is the most common rodent species in the world and are usually seen living within or near human habitations. House mice will feed on any available food source, and can chew through plastic, paper, wood and clothing. A female house mouse can have more than 60 babies each year! House mice can also carry a number of serious diseases.
Deer mice are bi-colored with a brown tops and white underbellies. They are small ranging in size from about 3 to 4 inches, and have black beady eyes. Deer mice avoid humans if indoors, and prefers to nest in attics, basements or crawl spaces.
The Norway rat is also known as the house rat, brown rat, wharf rat, sewer rat, water rat and gray rat. It is now the most widely distributed rat species in the United States, being found in all the states. The Norway rat is larger, stronger, more aggressive, and better adapted for producing young and surviving in colder climates than the roof rat and other rat species. The adult Norway rat has a stocky body, weighing between 12 and 16 ounces. Indoors the Norway rat may breed all year long. They prefer to nest around lower floors of buildings, but when populations are large, it will also occupy attic areas. Most populations of rats are nocturnal, with peak activity periods at dusk and before dawn. When rat proofing a structure all holes, gaps and potential entrance points over 1/2 inch must be sealed.
The roof rat is also known as the black rat, ship rat, gray bellied rat, Alexandrine rat, and white bellied rat. This rat originated in the forests of Southeast Asia, and thus is adapted for efficient climbing on vines, narrow ledges and wires. Roof rats arrived in the Americas around 1607, aboard ship with the colonists from Jamestown. The roof rat is appropriately named because by nature it is a climber and commonly lives above the ground in roofs or aerial areas around structures. Roof rats establish themselves in the exterior vegetation or the upper stories, attics, and soffits of the building. This behavior also enables the rat to remain undetected for long periods. Roof rats prefer to eat seeds and plant foods, such as fresh vegetables or fruits but also consume insects, slugs, snails and nuts. Although their home range typically extends within 100 to 150 feet of their nest, roof rats will travel up to 300 feet for food when necessary. In suburban neighborhoods, for example, they may live in the landscaping of one residence and feed at another, using various overhead utility lines or fences as their highways between their nest and their food source.
Structural Termite and Pest Control offers rodent identification, elimination, and exclusion services. We also provide rodent infestation clean up services. Due to the serious health risks associated with coming into contact with rodent urine, droppings or nesting materials, it is highly recommended that a licensed professional be contracted for clean up after a rodent infestation.
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