As a homeowner, you may deal with common household pests from time to time, but none can be so damaging as rodents. Rodents like rats, mice, and squirrels can cause significant damage to your home and carry a variety of diseases that may pose a threat to your family’s health. If you suspect an infestation or have seen possible signs of rodent presence in your home, there are a few ways you can identify these pests so you can let your local exterminator know what to look for when they come to treat your home.
There are many different types of mice that inhabit North America, but the two most common that invade human habitats are house mice and field mice. Field mice are typically more of a problem in rural or agriculture areas, but they can find their way into home during the winter and gain a foothold. House mice are active all year round and can breed rapidly in attics, basements, and sheds.
If you have discovered droppings in your kitchen or chewed bags and boxes in your pantry, then chances are one of these two species has found its way into your home. If the mice you glimpse have yellowish or sandy fur with a white belly, then you are looking at a field mouse. House mice are light grey or brown with round ears and small, delicate feet. While field mice are typically larger than house mice, their droppings will probably look identical.
While mice and rats may share some characteristics, there are many differences between the two species. Rats are typically larger and their droppings are oblong, where mice droppings are usually shaped like tiny pellets. Rats also have larger feet than mice, which is another way to tell them apart.
There are many different species of rats; however, the two most common that can infest human homes are the Norway rat and the roof rat. These rats can be identified by color, as the roof rat is black with grey highlights, where the Norway rat is light grey or reddish-brown. Roof rats are skilled climbers, while Norway rats are adept at swimming. Both species are omnivorous.
Most people think of squirrels as fuzzy and cute creatures that eat acorns and nuts and generally do not approach people. However, these highly adaptable rodents can gain a quick foothold on your home and make nests in your roof and attic. They also chew constantly, like most rodents, which means they can do plenty of damage. Squirrels can also damage birdfeeders and drive away the birds you are trying to attract.
The two most common types of squirrels are ground and tree species that vary in color from grey to black. A squirrel’s large, bushy tail is its most identifying characteristic, but a pest removal service may also look for signs of infestation as well, such as burrows or nests.
Unlike rats and mice, chipmunks have a cuteness factor that makes them appear less threatening than other rodents. However, chipmunks can do a great deal of damage to gardens and to a home’s foundation and other structures with their tunnel building. They also breed in large numbers, so the population around your home might get out of hand before you know it.
Chipmunks can be easily identified by their tan, striped body and furry tail. Their burrow entrances are usually round, and the burrows themselves can travel several feet into the earth, where multi-chambered homes provide them with food and a safe place to give birth. You are most likely to spot them in the early morning and late afternoon, when it is cooler to forage.
Rodent pests can wreak havoc on your home and cause a great deal of damage. However, learning to identify what type of rodent has invaded your home can be the first step in removing them.