Rats and mice mammals that are known as rodents. Rodents are well adapted to living in close proximity to humans, sharing our food, and shelter.
Throughout history rodents have been responsible for enormous losses of food and, owing to their ability to transmit disease to humans by a variety of means, enormous losses of life. Whether it be crops in the field or food in store, rats still consume or contaminate vast amounts of food, and they can still pose a serious threat to health.
Rodents need to continually gnaw to control the length and shape of their two incisor teeth, for this reason it’s not uncommon to find rodent damage within roof cavities. Whether its damage to electrical wires, water pipes, nests in insulation or sub-floors, or food contamination I think we can all agree that rodents can be a serious pest.
Three rodents that we are likely to encounter are:
- Norway rat: This is the larger out of the two rats likely to be found in domestic Australia. It has a thickset body, blunt snout, small close-set ears, and a tail shorter than the length of its body. It reaches sexual maturity by 3-4 months and is capable of having 5-6 litters per year, each containing 8-10 young.
- Roof rat: This is the smaller of the two pest rats. It has a more pointed snout, large prominent ears and a tail longer than its body length. It normally lives 9-12 months and may have 4-5 litters per year, each containing 6-8 young. Roof rats are usually restricted to the indoors of premises and to areas around seaports. They are excellent climbers and may nest in the upper extremities of building or tree tops.
- House mouse: The house mouse is small and has rather large ears, a pointed snout and a tail at least as long as its body length. House mice living indoors are usually a darkish grey colour with lighter grey on the belly, living outdoors they tend to be a more sandy or yellowish colour. They tend to live for about 1 year and may have 6-10 litters per year, each with 5-6 young. These young achieve sexual maturity at about 6 weeks old.