Zoology Quick Snippet: Rats & Mice

Discussion in 'Zoology' started by mscbkc070904, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    Since for some, this is winter season, rats and mice tend to hunt for food or do damage to homes looking for food. I figured I would give a quick reference about them from victor pest control. Also following the quick part I decided to add how to help control and find them in your home as well as ideal ways to trap them or rid your home of them.

    All About Rats
    There are two basic types of rats – the black or roof rat and the Norway or brown rat. European settlers probably brought the black rat with them as stowaways, while the Norway arrived around 1775 starting their own revolution by killing off their cousin, the black rat. Today, the Norway rat has taken up residency almost continent-wide, while the black rat has chosen the coastal areas of the southern, southeastern and western United States. In comparison, the Norway rat is slightly larger in appearance.
    Wherever food and shelter are plentiful, that’s where you’ll find Norway rats. Parks and recreational areas, older industrial areas, rail yards and back alleys are a real breeding ground for both species. Sewers, abandoned warehouses and garbage refuges are also places that rats frequent due to the abundance of food. The Norway rat typically likes to live in burrows underground or inside walls, whereas the black rat loves to climb and can be found in upper levels of buildings more often than Norway rats. Black rats use nests and make their home in trees or vines.

    Rats can reproduce young four to six times a year having litters of four to ten. Once they have reached the age of three to six months, they have the ability of reproducing. One female can wean about twenty young a year. Life expectancy for a rat is about nine months.

    Black and Norway rats will consume many different types of plant and animal foods such as seed that has been spilled from bird feeders or pet food that has been left outdoors. One ounce of food is all that is needed in one day for a rat to survive with some access to water. Norway rats will eat insects, meat refuse, bird eggs, and, given the opportunity, will devour small mammals and mice.

    Rat Problems

    Contamination of Food
    Food contamination by their urine and feces is one of the major problems humans face with rats. Rats contaminate huge percentages of agricultural produce each year and have been known to contaminate food stuffs such as popcorn.

    Disease
    Rats are enormous carriers of many different diseases, and it has been reported that rats bite more than fifteen thousand people per year involving very young, old or incapacitated. Some of the diseases caused by rats are bubonic plague, salmonella, leptospirosis, hantavirus and tularemia.

    Rat Solutions

    Exclude
    The size of a quarter is the size of the hole that is needed for a rat to find its way inside your home or dwelling. Holes of this size should be sealed with heavy-weight material, i.e. heavy-gauge screening, or can be plugged with wire mesh. Caulking or foam sealants can be used, but only in conjunction with screening or wire mesh as rats can eat their way through these sealants.

    Habitat Modification
    Good sanitation is essential to keep rats away. Keep the grounds near your dwelling free of debris food stuffs need to be kept in sealed “rat proof” containers. Birdseed, lawn clippings and garbage are another attractant for rats. Use tightly closed garbage containers. Do not have your pet’s food outside, but, if your pet resides outside, feed him and collect the food after twenty minutes.

    Remove
    Live catch traps may be used as rat traps to humanely capture and release rats. The HAVAHART® 0745 and l025 traps are best suited for use as rat traps. They should be placed where activity has been seen. Suggested baits for rat traps are cheese, bread, birdseed, peanuts and peanut butter.

    Exterminator
    A good exterminator can also solve your rat problems.

    Lethal Control
    The Victor® M201 or M205 snap rat traps work well as humane killing devices and should be placed along walls or behind appliances. Rodenticides are another effective form of lethal control.

    Rodenticides
    Rodenticides are a convenient and effective method of rodent control. Rodent bait packs can be used for indoor and outdoor control and can be placed along walls, by gnawed openings in or beside burrows, in corners or in locations where rodents and their signs have been seen. Victor offers a variety of rodenticide bait solutions.

    Repel
    Ultrasonic devices can be another solution. These devices give off an inaudible sound to humans or non-rodent animals, but keeps rats out of your house. Also try the Victor® Sonic Pest Chaser.


    All About Mice

    The house mouse is just about what you’d expect a mouse to be – small (2 to 3 inches), gray-brown, with an almost naked tail as long or longer than its body and weighing less than an ounce. The mouse, however, can eat about one-tenth of its weight each day. Its origin is Europe accompanying the early settlers on their ships to the New World and has since established themselves almost continent-wide.
    As you may guess with the name House Mouse, these creatures prefer life indoors, whether it be an apartment complex or single-family dwelling. They prefer the comfort of niches between walls and behind cabinets and appliances.

    The House Mouse has a very prolific reproductive system breeding year round and having as many as eight litters annually. Females can start having their litters at the age of one and a half to two months. Life expectancy for a wild mouse is no more than one year.

    Mice have a diet of a variety of foods, such as seeds, grains and nuts requiring only about 1/10 ounce of food each day, and can live without access to fresh water as long as their solid food is fairly moist.

    Mouse Problems

    Contamination of Food
    One of the main problems faced from having a mouse in your house is their contamination of food with their urine and feces. Their gnawing on wood, paper, cloth, books and insulation on wiring can also pose a real threat for any homeowner. This can be noted by observing gnawing leaves paired tooth marks about 1/8 inch wide and also seeing droppings which are rod-shaped and about 1/3 to ¼ inches long. Mice can also consume considerable quantities of stored seed and grains from farmers and granaries.

    Disease
    Mice can carry a wide variety of diseases transmissible to humans. A very real problem with the infestation of mice is the Hantavirus which has been a threat in the arid southwestern part of the country. Another major concern is salmonellosis which is transmitted by mice and is a concern in food storage and preparation areas.

    Mouse Solutions

    Exclude
    Mice are very tenacious in their ability to enter a dwelling as they only need an opening no larger than the size of a dime and can easily climb interior walls making exclusion very difficult. Thorough examinations need to be made periodically to assure that all points of entry (foundations, utility pipes and wires passing into the house) are secure.

    Baby powder or talc can be sprinkled along the inside perimeters of walls and thresholds which can show tracks where mice are active and can be instrumental in helping decide where exclusion efforts are needed.

    In those areas that are not secure, wire mesh or quick-drying cement can be used to plug cracks around drainpipes and other small areas of entry. Also, galvanized window screening can be balled and stuffed into larger openings that are then finished with caulking or cement. Expanding-foam insulation can also be used for filling small to medium size openings.

    Habitat Modification
    Good housekeeping procedures need to be in place in order to keep these pesky critters out of your house. Removal of all food sources is essential, and all foods that are accessible to mice should be stored in metal or plastic containers. To keep mice at bay, you need to keep the perimeter of your house free from weeds and vegetation at least 18 inches away from your foundation.

    Remove
    Early fall or winter is the time of the year when mice move in as part of their normal movement patterns. Mice can be humanely live-trapped and put back in their own environment but would probably not do well, but many people are willing to try.

    Live-catching devices are sold to make this transition possible. The Victor® M007, M313, the Tin Cat, and also the HAVAHART® model 1020 cage trap can be used to effectively exclude mice from your premises. When placing these traps, put them along a wall or other barrier as mice travel along walls. These traps should be set before going to bed and checked early in the morning so that removal can be made safely for the mouse.

    Suggested baits: Cheese, bread and butter, small nuts, cherry pits, oatmeal, sunflower or similar seeds. Mixed peanut butter and oatmeal, gumdrops.

    Exterminator
    Of course, an exterminator is still another exclusionary method that can bring good results.


    Lethal Control
    Good management control in many cases can only be attained by the use of killing devices such as the Victor® snap trap. Sticky traps are also another method of control and work very well when there is the presence of children or pets. Again, these devices need to be placed along a wall where the normal traffic pattern of mice occur. Rodenticides are another effective form of lethal control. They are convenient to use and can provide both indoor and outdoor control.

    Rodenticides
    Rodenticides are a convenient and effective method of rodent control. Rodent bait packs can be used for indoor and outdoor control and can be placed along walls, by gnawed openings in or beside burrows, in corners or in locations where rodents and their signs have been seen. Victor offers a variety of rodenticide bait solutions.

    Repel
    Ultrasonic devices can also be used to keep mice out of a designated area. These products produce sounds that are inaudible to humans or non-rodent animals. The Victor® brand Sonic Pest Chaser can be very effective


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