RATS & MICE
RATS & MICE: Rats and mice may be the most commonly known nuisance mammal species worldwide. They can be important agricultural pests, but the real concern is their tendency to feed on human food stores, often contaminating what they do not eat.
They also chew, and can destroy electrical wires and pretty much anything they get their teeth on. The wire chewing can cause electrical shorts, or worse, fire risks. Sometimes they chew on PVC plumbing and cause water leaks. Click here for rat damage photos of chewing on wires. Most of the calls that I get regarding rats has to do with the noise people hear the rats making up in the attic or in the walls. They leave behind a lot of waste in the form of urine and feces.
They're also known carriers of zoonotic diseases of course.
RAT BIOLOGY: Roof Rat (Rattus rattus) Is also known as the Black Rat, Ship Rat, or House Rat. It is very common in the more southern states. Adults average 7-8 inches long with an additional 8 inch tail, and weigh between 6-10 ounces. Males are usually larger. They breed year-round, and have up to five litters per year. A female can become pregnant within 48 hours after giving birth. The young grow quickly, and are sexually mature within three months. It's rare for rats to live more than one year in the wild, though lab/pet rats can live up the three years. They love to live in attics, hence their name.
Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus) Is also known as the Brown Rat. These rats are larger than Roof Rats, with a more robust body, slightly longer, but a bit shorter tail. They can weigh up to a pound. They are more common in northern parts of the country. They are more likely to live at ground level, like below a house, or in the basement, but can inhabit any part of a building.
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