Rodents 101

Rodents are warm-blooded animals of the order Rodentia. They are small and easily recognizable for their oversized front incisors. For these continuously growing front teeth to be sharp and healthy, rodents never stop chewing. This is one of the reasons that they are such destructive pests to have in homes or businesses.

House mice, Norway rats, Roof rats, Cotton rats, and Deer mice are just some of the most common rodents known to infest Austin, Texas properties. They commonly make their burrows in sheltered outdoor or indoor spaces such as attics and basements where they can form large colonies.

While most of them feed on nuts, fruits, and seeds, they wouldn’t think twice about invading your pantry for human food. It’s a problem because rodents can contaminate food and chew on furniture, resulting in health risks and structural damages. Also, mice, rats, and other rodents are vectors of many diseases like leptospirosis and salmonellosis.

rodent infestation - a group of rodents in a box

Noticed mice running around your home during the day? That’s a sign of a well-established infestation. Call our pest control professionals right away. These rodents have incredible reproductive capabilities. A mouse’s gestation period is only around 3 weeks, and a single female can give birth to 5 or 6 pups. They can live for about one year, but without predators or a harsh environment, they can live longer.

Types of Rodents

house mouse

House Mice (Mus Musculus)

House mice are pesky, dusty gray creatures with cream-colored bellies. They are small, only about 2.5 to 3.75 inches long, and can survive both indoors and outdoors. As long as there are dark, secluded, and cluttered areas, they will survive. They typically create nests out of cotton, paper products, fabrics, and wall insulation.

In nature, these pests prefer to eat seed and cereals, but will also eat dead insects. They eat many times in multiple locations, but their favorite meal times are before dusk and right before dawn.

House mice breed fast, and can quickly adapt to changing conditions. A female can give birth to around 6 pups every three weeks. That’s about 35 mice every year!

norway rat coming out of a wall

Norway Rats (Rattus Norvegicus)

Norway rats have brown fur and black hairs dispersed all throughout their coat. These pests can grow to about 16 inches long and are heavily bodied. Known for being adaptable feeders, Norway rats eat practically anything. They do, however, show more preference to meat and cereal, unlike roof rats which love vegetables and fruits. Norway rats feed many times a day, carrying their food to less busy spaces before consuming it.

If you want to avoid them in your property, clear away clutter and piles of firewood. These rats are naturally adapted to farmlands, yet they still settle in garbage cans and moist areas under concrete. With that said, it’s time to get all leaky pipes around your home repaired, most especially the ones nearest to basements and crawl spaces.

roof rat in a rain gutter

Roof Rats (Rattus Rattus)

Roof rats can be more than 15-16 inches long but are sleeker than norway rats. They are brown or black in color, with pointed noses, and hairless, scaly tails. Did you know that this type of rat spends 90% of its time 4 feet above the ground or in much higher places? Inspect your attic thoroughly, from time to time. These rats may climb on tree branches and power lines to get to the roof or attic.

Their fondness for higher places doesn’t mean that they will never find their way into your pantry. Roof rats are willing to eat anything and everything. They even feed on Brown and American cockroaches. Those that live near bodies of water are known to eat shellfish, fish, and other aquatic organisms.

cotton rat in a field

Cotton Rats (Sigmodon Hispidus)

A cotton rat is a moderately robust, large rodent with a scaly tail that is a lot shorter than its combined body and head. These rats have a total length of around 10 inches, including the tail that is approximately 4 inches. They actually look like hedgehogs.

Cotton rats prefer to live in grassy fields, overgrown roadsides, and meadows. They are generally herbivores, feeding on a wide range of plants. They also eat nuts and fruits. If you have a garden, watch out for cotton rats.

deer mouse up close

Deer Mice (Peromyscus Maniculatus)

Deer mice have dominantly brown fur, with white underbellies and feet. They can be anywhere from 3 to 8 inches long, and are a huge problem in farmlands, seeking shelter in hollow tree logs and piles of debris.

In search of food and water during the winter season, they end up living in homes and businesses. Their favorite places? Garages, sheds, basements, and attics. As for nesting areas, they typically go for undisturbed drawers and storage boxes.

These pests feed at dusk and dawn. Normally, they eat small fruits, nuts, and seeds, but also consume other animals like snails and centipedes.

Rodent Control & Prevention

  • Always clean your kitchen and pantry areas.
  • Clean up woodpiles, garbage piles, or anything else that can serve as a home for a rodent.
  • Conduct a thorough inspection of your home’s exterior and seal any holes.
  • Get a pet like a cat or a rat terrier.
    Keep storage areas neat and tidy to deter rodents’ nesting and hiding spots.
  • Put up “catch and release” traps.
    Regularly empty out your trash bins and have tight-fitting lids on them.

Did You Know?

  • The average lifespan of rats and mice is about 4 -12 months. Life is definitely shorter in dense areas where there are predators and competition for food.
  • Rodents multiply very fast. A sexually mature female can produce up to 10 litters of 4 to 6 pups throughout her lifetime. She can give birth to her first litter at only 2 months.
  • If startled or caught, rodents can act aggressively and bite. They do this to protect themselves.
  • Rodents are omnivores. While they sometimes eat meat or insects, they generally prefer seeds and fruits.
  • Rodents can carry fleas and ticks leading to a secondary infestation in your home. Fleas and ticks also carry pathogens that cause Lyme disease and other illnesses.

Rodent Removal & Exclusion? We Can Help!

Andy Howard’s Pest Control has been serving Austin and the surrounding areas for 45 years. We offer reliable residential and commercial pest control services with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Call us now for dependable rodent control in Austin, Texas.