For rats (and many other rodents), our homes and offices are the perfect habitat. They effortlessly enjoy food, water, and shelter within our living and working spaces without having to expose themselves to natural enemies, after all. Letting them lurk around our homes, shops, and warehouses shouldn’t be a welcome idea. These unwelcome guests carry germs and diseases and history has shown what happens when we share the same space (read: bubonic plague).
It may not be new to hear that rodents like rats and mice damage properties, damage wires so start fires, spread disease, and contaminate food supplies but what many property owners don’t know is that they can bring over other pests like lice, fleas, and ticks. With that much nuisance, it’s only proper to act at the first sign of infestation to drastically reduce the length of time you’ll need to effectively resolve the problem. Keep in mind that these critters multiply in such short notice and you’d soon be dealing with a massive infestation if you don’t call in pest removal experts soon.
In case you didn’t know, rodents are the second most successful mammal on Earth, coming second only to humans. The fact is that they’ve successfully populated every continent except Antarctica and that’s largely because of their adaptability and short breeding cycles.
Australia has more than 60 native rodent species and, luckily, only three have been introduced as pests. However, those three have caused devastating damage to households, commercial businesses, farms and livestock, and even manufacturing firms over the years. Whether they’re gnawing through structures or ruining food supplies with their excrement, you wouldn’t want any of them inhabiting your property.
It’s important to keep in mind, though, that not all rodents are pests. Many are an important part of the local food chain as they’re prey for small carnivores like snakes, cats, foxes, and predatory birds. In addition to being part of the staple diet of endemic predators they also help in spreading seeds and spores. Their ecological importance cannot be understated.
Because rats and mice are notorious disease carriers, you have to keep watch of any signs of these rodents in your property. That means you will have to be familiar with the common ones who may come invading your space at any time.
Three of the main pest species found in the country are the following:
- Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus)
Known as either sewer rat, brown rat, or wharf rat, this one is the larger of the other two pest rodents. In fact, adult Norway rats can weigh about half a kilo! They are active at night and are both good swimmers and diggers. They’re omnivores, too, and that means they eat plant and animal matter. Their staple diet includes meat, fish, vegetables, cereals, weeds, earthworms, nuts, fruits, and even crustaceans.
- Roof rat (Rattus rattus)
Often called a ship rat or black rat, this one is smaller than the Norway rat. They’re usually found in roof voids, buildings, and ships and they get around thanks to their incredible climbing ability. They can be recognised by their black/brown fur and their tail that is as long as their head and body combined. They eat anything with nutritional value and will even feed on meats and insects when grains, fruits, and cereals are scarce.
- House mouse (Mus domesticus)
Compared to the other two previously mentioned, the house mouse is relatively small. They’re curious animals and can often be found in close proximity to human settlements. They have a varied diet that consists of grains, fruits, animal feeds, cereals, and nuts.
If you’re suspecting that rodents have taken up residence in your place, look out for smears, droppings and holes (on the walls, floor, or partitions). Know that house mice tend to gnaw small holes while rats will create larger entrances to their nest. Besides these, you’ll have to look out for these other signs of rodent invasion.
Before you see visible signs of rodent presence, you’ll likely hear inexplicable scuttling and scurrying on the roof or around the house/office. If you have pets around, the sounds rats and mice make will often excite them so take note if you see your dog chasing or clawing at something within the premises. Whenever you hear these strange sounds, try and locate the source and take note of it. It’ll be easier to remove these menaces out when you know where to look for them.
Like us, rats love to eat and if you don’t clean up after yourself, chances are that they’ll do so for you. You know if they’ve come out to partake in your feast because they’ll often leave behind damaged food packaging. Although you may find this mostly irritating, this is actually a precarious situation because the food kept within the food packaging in question are likely contaminated. Salvaging them for consumption at some other time will put your health at risk.
You can tell the presence of rodents in your place by the distinct odour they give off. In areas with little ventilation, it’s easy to tell if there may be a rat or two because of a strong, musky smell. That’s the smell of rodent urine right there!
Another dead giveaway of a rodent infestation is when you find droppings in the pantry or cupboards. As you’re searching for clues as to what rodent you may be dealing with, it’s important to know that mice droppings may be different in appearance to rat droppings. The former is smooth with pointed ends and the latter tends to be black, shiny, and elongated. Whichever one of these you find, make sure to bring in pest control experts for consultation and eradication.
A rat or mice infestation isn’t something anyone should take lightly because it can get out of hand pretty quickly. Before these uninvited guests compromise your safety, call our rat control and mice removal team and we’ll make sure to drive them out before they drive you crazy.