A Rodent By Any Other Name- How to Identify the Rodent in Your Home

What’s in a name? Would a rodent by any other name cause damage?

The answer to that question is a definitive yes!

The rodent family comes in many names, shapes, and sizes and includes several varieties of mice, rats, gophers, and more. Each member is capable of damaging your house and/or endangering your health, making it critical to deal with a rodent problem right away.

There are a number of rodents that are local to Ohio and Kentucky. Do you know how to tell if you have a rodent problem? Below, we’ll tell you how to determine which rodents are invading your home or yard and the best way to get rid of them.

Common Ohio & Kentucky Rodents

House mice

The house mouse is one of the most common rodent pests, and it’s the one most people think of when they think “rodent problem.” The house mouse is brownish-gray and small (about 2.5-4 inches), with a tail as long as its body. Its head and body are small and slender, while its ears are somewhat large. The droppings of a house mouse are dark in color and pointed at the ends.

A single house mouse can leave dozens of droppings per day, making it the most noticeable sign of a house mouse infestation. Another clear sign of house mice is the presence of gnaw marks and small holes on the boxes of cereals and grains, wood, and plastic items. House mice may also gnaw on wires. These rodents will usually make nests out of torn paper and cloth, food wrappers, stuffing from furniture, and string. These nests can be found in walls, corners, and even the base of appliances; the nests are typically near the food source.

Deer mice

Because they are similar in size and color to a house mouse, it can be difficult to tell house and deer mice apart. There are a few key differences: deer mice are distinguishable by their white underbelly and feet and their bicolored tail, which is dark on top and lighter on the bottom.

Their nest locations are also different: they avoid humans and prefer basements, attics, and crawl spaces. The nests are typically made of fur, weeds, and paper. Deer mice are different from house mice in another key aspect: they are known carriers of diseases like the hantavirus, which can be contracted by inhaling the air while cleaning up deer mouse feces or urine.

Norway rats

Norway rats are much bigger than mice, reaching around 10 inches in length. They are brown or gray, with small ears, a blunt nose, and scaly tails that are shorter than their body. Their droppings are blunt and nearly an inch long, making them one of the most obvious signs of an infestation.

Norway rats will typically live in outdoor burrows, from which they enter the home in search of food, but they can also be found in basements and sewers. They are omnivorous, meaning they will eat grains, fruit, and meat (usually insects, though they do also eat dead animals and fish). Gnaw marks and holes made by rats are bigger and have more jagged edges than those made by mice.

How to Get Rid of Them

You can try to prevent a rodent infestation by covering all cracks and crevices into the home, no matter how small. (Keepin mind that house mice, for example, need less than an inch of space to enter a house!) Because rodents are expert chewers, crevices should be sealed with cement or a similar mixture.

You can also make your home less hospitable for rodents by sealing food in glass or metal containers equipped with tight lids, fixing plumbing leaks, sweeping away crumbs from tabletops and floors, and cleaning dishes as soon as possible. 

Once you have a rodent infestation, however, prevention methods won’t solve your problem. The extermination method used will vary depending on the type of rodent.

House mice

Occasionally, one or two house mice can be dealt with using mouse traps or baits. It’s important to note, however, that house mice reproduce very quickly. They reach sexual maturity within 1 to 2 months and can have several litters a year, with each litter containing up to 8 pups. This means a small infestation can quickly become a big one requiring more serious intervention.

Deer mice

Because of the potential for dangerous disease, we strongly recommend that you contact a professional to eliminate a deer mice infestation. It takes a professional using the utmost caution to remove deer mice and their droppings without endangering the health of the homeowners.

Norway rats

Rats are notoriously difficult to get rid of. While mice are curious, rats are instinctively distrustful of new things, like rat traps and bait. This means that it may take more time for a rat problem to go away, as the rats will avoid the traps for a day or two. Quick treatment of a rat infestation will require a trained professional.

Whatever the name of the rodent, you want it out of your house… and Scherzinger Pest Control can help!

Concerned you might have a rodent infestation on your hands? Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our websiteFacebook, or Twitter.