There have been many loveable rats and mice in popular culture.
Templeton from Charlotte’s Web. Remy from Ratatouille. Mickey Mouse. Stuart Little. And who could forget loveable Jaq and Gus, who helped Cinderella break away from the evil stepmother and stepsisters.
In real life, however, rodents like rats and mice (and occasionally squirrels) aren’t so cute. Mice can spread hantavirus or salmonella. Rats often spread leptospirosis, which can cause liver and kidney failure. Beyond the physical health issues, however, rodents can put your building in danger.
Rodents are by nature gnawers. They only have one pair of teeth for their entire lives, and they are open-rooted, meaning they never stop growing. To keep their teeth in check, rodents in the wild will whittle their teeth down by chewing on hard objects or bruxing (grinding their teeth). Once in a structure, however, they will chew on just about anything, including wall studs and more dangerously, electrical wiring. In fact, nearly 20% of unexplained house fires are attributed to shorts in wires caused by rodents.
There are three rodents we will address here because they are the most common in the United States:
House mouse: The house mouse (don’t be fooled by the lyrical name – they’re still annoying and potentially dangerous) is the most common rodent in the United States. They will often shelter in houses to escape difficult weather, such as snow in northern climates and excessive heat in southern climates. The gestation period for a litter of up to six house mice is three weeks and a female house mouse can produce up to 35 young per year. Do the math – if you have a male and female in your house, you are going to have a significant infestation in short order.
Norway rats: They are the most common rats throughout the world and did not originate in Norway (they originally came from Asia). Distinguished from the roof rat (more on them in a second) by its smaller eyes, ears and tails, Norway rats are notorious gnawers and can destroy property quickly.
Roof rats: Also of Asian origin, roof rats (also known as black rats or ship rats, but not flying rats, which as New Yorkers know are actually pigeons) are physically smaller than Norway rats but are similarly destructive. Their name is based on the fact they are often found in the upper levels of buildings.
One of the challenges of rodents is that rats can fit through holes the size of a quarter and mice can squeeze themselves through holes the size of a dime. So figuring out how they’re entering the house — and where they are once inside — requires detective work of which Sherlock Holmes would be proud. In other words, you need experts.
At Green Earth Pest Control, our experience in dealing with rodents is extensive.
Having cut our teeth (if you’ll excuse the expression) in New York, where rats and mice are almost as plentiful as cabs, we know their behavior almost better than we know our own. We will eliminate the current infestation in addition to scouring your structure to determine how they’re getting in and remediate the area to prevent future invasions. When possible, we will deal with your infestation humanely.