Home, it’s a safe place, a haven, a retreat. For most of us, home is a sanctuary where we can enjoy our family and our privacy. Many of our best memories are made there and our treasures are stored there.
You go to great lengths to protect your home- from theft, natural disasters, fire, flooding, and so much more. But sometimes, it’s not unpredictable incidentals that pose the most probable threat to your property. What’s more likely to undermine the safety and tranquility that you’ve built in your home is so small that it’s snuck in right under your nose.
Believe it or not, rodents in your home can cause as much destruction to your property as a fire or a flood. The destruction that rodents wreak in a home happens out of sight, in the middle of the night. These nocturnal critters work swiftly and multiply at an alarming rate.
Knowing and understanding the habits of mice and rats will help you stay alert and vigilant. The more you know, the better you can protect your home from rodent invasion. Noticing the first signs of rodents in the house and acting quickly can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars in home repairs and damages.
Here’s the rodents list you’ve been looking for. It’s the rundown on all the rodents’ nasty traits and habits that’ll be a dead giveaway if one makes its way into your home. Getting familiar with the facts about rodents is the first step to recognizing if you have them in your home!
- Rats need liquids daily. If they don’t get enough from their food source, they’ll have to seek out water.
- Rats are notorious for being dumpster divers when it comes to food, but they prefer fresh grains or meat.
- A rat can and will climb to obtain food.
Habits & Lifestyle
- Rats are excellent diggers. They are known to burrow under buildings and fences.
- The average lifespan of a rat is 1- 1 ½ years.
- Rats crave warm spaces, which is why they are attracted to your attic.
- Although larger than mice, rats can maneuver easily throughout your living space. They can enter through a hole that is only ½ inch in diameter!
- Rats are proficient swimmers and can even enter spaces by way of drains or sewers.
- Rats normally stay close to their nest, within 300 ft.
- Signs of rat inhabitants: burrows, gnawing, tracks, runways, droppings.
- Rats are similar to mice in that they are nocturnal and have poor eyesight. However, they have a keen sense of smell, taste, and sound.
- Physically, rats are larger than mice, with coarser fur and noticeably bigger heads and feet.
- The most common residential rat species are the Norway rat, which inhabits low living spaces, and the roof rat which thrives in upper attic spaces.
- Mice strategically build nests discreetly near their food source, using shreds of paper or soft material.
- Plants and cereal are favorite foods for mice.
Habits & Lifestyle
- Mice live approximately 9-12 months.
- A female mouse can produce up to 60 babies a year- and those 60 can begin to reproduce after just 6 short weeks!
- Mice are fantastic climbers- they can even climb vertically! They can also jump up to 13 inches high and run very quickly.
- Mice can chew through electrical wiring systems, which can lead to an electrical fire!
- A ¼ inch of a hole is all a mouse needs to slip inside!
- Mice are actually color blind, but their other senses are heightened.
- Mice have a distinctive musky odor.
- Eek! Mice are afraid of rats- for good reason, rats can eat mice!
- Signs of mice inhabitants: gnawing, droppings, and tracks.
Now that you know the basics about rodents in the house, you may already be scouting out your property for vulnerabilities. If you’re beginning to worry that you may have unwanted house guests, check for these 8 unmistakable signs:
- URINE ODORS
- GNAWED HOLES
- RUB AND GNAW MARKS
- RODENT RUNWAYS
- RODENT NESTS
- SCAMPERING NOISES
- UNUSUAL PET BEHAVIOR
Some of these signs are self-explanatory, and others we’ll go into detail on. Read carefully to learn how to spot these signs in your own home.
Scampering Noises in the Attic
Are you hearing scurrying or scampering noises from above? You’re not paranoid. The attic is an excellent place to get started when checking your home for rats or mice. The roof rat is one of the most common residential rodents, and it’s favorite place to nest is in the attic. Rats are adept climbers and can sneak into the attic by running up the walls or by squeezing through holes in the walls and roof.
Rodents are attracted to warm spaces. A telltale sign that they have invaded the attic is damaged attic insulation. This a soft material is something that rats love to shred and burrow into to make a nest. Insulation can be ruined by shredding and by contamination from rat droppings and urine. Contaminated insulation is very dangerous and poses health risks. See Green Rat Control Health Hazards to learn more about how to protect yourself and your family.
It’s not dirt, it’s not dust, it’s a rodent dropping. You’ll know at first glance whether they are new or old. New droppings are dark and moist, as they get older, they dry out and become old and gray. You will likely find droppings in your kitchen near food packages, around your pantry, in drawers or cupboards, and under sinks. The kitchen should be inspected extremely carefully! Droppings near food containers mean that your food is compromised. Eating food that has come into contact with rodents can be very dangerous to your health!
Other possible places include hidden areas, like in the walls, in insulation and ductwork. You will find the greatest number of droppings where the rodents are nesting or feeding, so inspect the area around the new-found droppings to determine if there is still an active – or new – infestation.
Whether you notice them on the exterior or interior of your home, gnaw marks are a dead giveaway that you have a rodent in the house. Gnawed mouse holes are small, clear-cut, and about the size of a dime. Gnawed rat holes are large, about the size of a quarter, with rough torn edges. Rodents can gnaw through just about any material.
One particularly dangerous thing they love to gnaw on is electrical wiring. Wiring is usually out of sight, so if you’ve seen gnaw marks in other parts of the house check the wiring on your major appliances ASAP to see if it has been compromised. Wiring that has been gnawed on poses a serious risk for an electrical fire in your home!
Unusual Pet Behavior
Pets are usually guardians on the home, and their behavior can be a very strong indicator if something is up. Pets who are territorial and protective about their space will display signs of unrest and discontent if rodents have invaded the house. Even pets who are not particularly overbearing tend to act unusual when they hear or smell rodents in the house. They may appear extremely alert, bark, or begin to paw at spaces beneath refrigerators, stoves, or low-clearance pieces of furniture. Trust your pets instincts and follow where they lead.
If you’re fairly certain or concerned that you recognize some of these signs in your home, your next step is to contact your local rodent professionals for inspection and removal services. The friendly team at Green Rat Control can provide a fast and effective consultation and help you come up with a plan of action to restore your home to health safety.
Reclaim your home- inspect for rats and mice today!
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