RODENTS

The following is an overview of the potential losses that could be caused by rodents through disease, contamination and damage.

  • Food lost to rodents is equivalent to food for 200 million people
  • Rodents consume 20% of world’s food supply
  • They are responsible for millions of dollars of damage to computer systems and other electronic equipment
  • Annually, $120 million is spent on rodent control programs or devices
  • Annually, 100,000 individuals are bitten by rodents
  • For fires listed as “cause unknown,” 25% of them are attributed to rats or squirrels
  • Rats were responsible for shutting down the Sacramento area’s Internet
  • Rats have also shut down an airliner, costing the company $100K per day, and totaling almost $1M before the problem was solved

Gray Squirrel (Sciurus Carolinensis)

  • Squirrels can store food in attic areas, helping mice and other insect pests such as carpet beetles survive

House Mouse (Mus Musculus)

  • Contrary to some beliefs, mice do not grow up to become rats
  • Mice can fit through holes only 1/4 inch in diameter, usually without chewing
  • Most houses that do not use professional pest control programs have mice living in the attic, feeding on seeds and drinking water found in gutters
  • Mice can live in attics without ever coming down for food and water, only doing so in cases of over-population
  • Black rat snakes will commonly also live in attics in order to prey on mice
  • When homeowners find mouse activity in the common living areas of their homes, they should assume that a larger problem may be present in the attic and other inaccessible areas of their homes
  • Mice usually produce six babies per litter, birthing seven litters per year each capable of living up to three years, meaning potentially 126 more mice within three years
  • They are excellent climbers that can ascend a brick wall without breaking stride, can jump up to 15 inches up, and survive falls of more than 8 feet without injury

Sewer Rat or Norway Rat (Rattus Norvegicus)

  • These rats can produce up to six litters a year with an average of seven babies per litter, meaning an average of 42 young each year
  • They can live up to five years, and become sexually mature at only four months
  • For a breeding female, she can produce up to 194 babies throughout her life span
  • In many cases, rats have moved out of depressed areas and into older suburb areas to enjoy the better quality of food being expelled into sanitary sewers through garbage disposals
  • The practice of feeding dogs, cats and birds outside will definitely attract rats
  • Rats can fit through holes the size of a half-dollar coin, but will chew through an opening if it is not big enough
  • Rats can chew through lead, aluminum, bone, cinderblock and concrete as well as plastic garbage cans
  • They are known to spread diseases such as bubonic plague, which is still active in the southwestern united states
  • They are excellent climbers, often spotted in trees and along telephone lines, and are capable of a 4- to 5-foot standing jump
  • Rats are also excellent swimmers that can swim as far as 150 feet through a water line, emerging in toilets or floor drains (which is why an unused basement toilet should be blocked or removed)
  • Their natural enemies include large dogs, owls and hawks, but are ferocious enough to back down even large predators such as tigers

Deer Mouse or White-Footed Mouse (Peromyuscus)

  • The deer mouse is known to be a major co-vector of Lyme disease

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