Common Types Of Rodents In Washington
The largest group of mammals, there are over 1500 species of rodents in existence. In the Pacific Northwest, the rodents that cause the most problems for homes and businesses include deer mice, white-footed mice, and roof rats.
The adult deer mouse has a slender build and grows up to four inches in length (not including the tail which ranges from two to five inches in length). Deer mice have darker fur on top and lighter underbellies. They are also known for their large, fur-covered ears and piercing black eyes.
Similar in appearance to the deer mouse, white-footed deer mice average about six inches in length including their tails and have darker coloring on top and lighter coloring on their undersides including their feet. They have noticeably large ears that are disproportionate to their bodies and bi-colored tails.
The common house mouse can grow up to 7.5 inches in length (that includes the body and tail) and is typically light brown in color. These mice have smooth fur, pointed muzzles, small eyes, and large ears.
Norway rats have brown bodies with black hairs scattered in and lighter undersides. They are long, heavily-bodied rats that grow up to 17 inches in length including their tails. These rodents have blunt muzzles and small ears and eyes. Unlike roof rats, Norway rats are not skilled climbers and tend to inhabit lower levels of homes and businesses.
Dark brown or black in color, roof rats have long, slim bodies that grow up to 16 inches in length including their tails. Roof rats have large ears, pointed noses, and large, dark eyes. As their name suggests, roof rats tend to infest upper levels of structures and get there by utilizing their excellent climbing skills.
Also referred to as pack rats, this species belonging to the rodent genus Neotoma. They have are rat-like in appearance with the exception of their tails. Unlike rats, that have scaly tails, wood rats have bushy ones. They grow up to 18 inches in length, have ears larger than typical rats, and their coloring varies by age and even seasons.
Why do I have a problem with rodents?
Mice and rats are considered commensal rodents, that is they partially rely on humans for their survival. Easy access to food, water, and shelter are typically why property owners find their homes or buildings infested with rodents. Open garbage cans, compost piles, gardens, fruit trees, and bird feeders are likely to attract rodents. Rodents often hide out in construction debris, fallen trees, wood piles, and outbuildings. They’ll also make their way inside structures if there are openings that make it possible. Holes along the roofline, gaps under doors, and other gaps or holes will allow rodents to enter.
Where do rodents nest?
Rodent nesting sites vary by species. For example, roof rats make their nests in trees, upper levels of buildings including attics, and in chimneys. White-footed mice typically live and nest outside and only venture inside to locate food. Their nests are often found in tree holes, under logs, in tree stumps, or underneath stones and/or rocks. Deer mice establish nests in hollowed out trees, in woodpiles, and also in abandoned nests and burrows. Inside, they are often found nesting in wall voids, attics, basements. Areas that are relatively undisturbed are ideal.
Are rodents dangerous?
Rodents can be dangerous. In order to keep their front incisors at a manageable length, these pests are constantly chewing. The result can be damage to electrical wires, drywall and other building materials, and even furniture and belongings. Rodents also contaminate insulation and other areas with their urine and feces.
Health risks are another concern associated with mice and rats. They are capable of spreading Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Leptospirosis, and Salmonella.
Rodents also introduce mites, ticks, and fleas. It is important to note the connection between rodents and ticks as there are tick-borne illnesses that residents of Washington should be aware of.
How do I get rid of rodents?
Just setting a few mouse traps is not the answer. Without identifying and correcting how they’re getting in, the rodent problem will continue. We recommend contacting a pest control company that specializes in rodent control. At Prosite Pest Control, we offer relief from rodent problems. Our solution starts with accurate identification of the rodent infestation. Once we know what the pest is, we’ll develop a plan of action that gets rid of these destructive and potentially dangerous critters. Visit our rodent control page for more information about our services.
How do I prevent problems with rodents?
To prevent rodents from infesting, you must eliminate the conditions that attract them. That means removing any potential food or water sources. Harvesting gardens and fruit trees, removing bird feeders, bringing pet food inside, and cleaning up pet feces will help discourage rodents. You should also make your structure impenetrable. We recommend sealing openings that rodents can squeeze through, installing chimney caps, and fixing holes on the roof and exterior.
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