The Field Mouse, (left) and the House Mouse (right).
Rats and mice, like squirrels and beavers for that matter, need to chew things constantly to keep their teeth from overgrowing. Because of this, it is estimated that Rats, mice, and squirrels chewing through electrical wires account for up to 30% of all electrical-based fires.
Diseases carried by rodents are well documented throughout history. Plague, rabies, and other human diseases are known to have been carried by mice and rats. It is unsanitary and unsafe to maintain any population of rats or mice in your home or business. Exclusion service involves heavy trapping among other methods for keeping these rodents in check.
Rats scavenge over 300 feet in the city for food, and further in the country. Total elimination is only possible if their territory falls completely on your property and the process can be ongoing.
It is also imperative that all possible food sources be removed prior to calling on any service that provides removal and extermination of mice or rats.
A rat eating electrical wire.
Norway Rats. Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus), sometimes called brown or sewer rats, are stocky burrowing rodents that are larger than roof rats. Their burrows are found along building foundations, beneath rubbish or woodpiles, and in moist areas in and around gardens and fields. Nests may be lined with shredded paper, cloth, or other fibrous material. When Norway rats invade buildings, they usually remain in the basement or ground floor. The Norway rat occurs throughout the 48 contiguous United States. Generally it is founds at lower elevations but may occur wherever people live.
Roof Rats. Roof rats (Rattus rattus), sometimes called black rats, are slightly smaller than Norway rats. Unlike Norway rats, their tails are longer than their heads and bodies combined. Roof rats are very agile climbers and usually live and nest above ground in shrubs, trees, and dense vegetation such as ivy. In buildings, they are most often found in enclosed or elevated spaces in attics, walls, false ceilings, and cabinets. The roof rat has a more limited geographical range than the Norway rat, preferring ocean-influenced, warmer climates. In areas where the roof rat occurs, the Norway rat may also be present. If you are unsure of the species, look for rats at night with a strong flashlight or trap a few.
Mice. Field mice and house mice are very similar, except the house mouse has a scaly tail, a more pointed nose, and rounded ears.
Meadow Vole. Meadow Voles (Microtus Pennsylvanicus) look like a mouse, but with the lifestyle of the mole. The vole is another garage, house, shed, yard, and garden pest for those near fields, easements, and railroad, or out in the country.
Survival tactics used over the winter months for voles means using many different strategies. If they arent going to move into your property once winter has spread her blanket of snow, the meadow vole spends the winter constructing a labyrinth of snow tunnels. The tunnels provide a steady environment protecting these animals from the normal fluctuations of cold and wind. The temperature is often several degrees warmer in the tunnel.
Voles feed on the grasses and seeds they find as they tunnel through the snow. The uneaten grass often covers the tunnel floor like a hallway carpet. As temperatures warm, these tunnels can be easily seen and followed.
Following the tunnels may lead you to the dining area where food was readily available. It may lead you to a bedroom where you will find a ball of fine grass and maybe some cattail fuzz for warmth. Following it further may lead you to the backdoor used for escape.
The vole’s tunnels provide a certain amount of safety. All their needs are provided under the cover of snow. They seldom travel out of the tunnel. To deal with this safety, predators have developed keen hearing. Fox and coyotes will stand above the snow with their ears pointed forward listening for a vole running through its tunnel. When they have located one, they will leap trying to catch the vole between their paws. This tactic may be attempted several times, but in the end they will either enjoy a tasty meal, or if the vole is lucky, just a mouthful of cold snow.