Description: House mice are gray or brown rodents with relatively large ears and small eyes. An adult is roughly 5 ½” to 7 ½” long, including the tail.
Attractions: Although house mice usually feed on cereal grains, they will eat many kinds of human and pet food. They eat often, nibbling bits of food here and there. This rodent can enter your home through a hole smaller than a dime. House mice aren’t shy about making their presence known. They leave behind droppings, gnawed food and tracks in the places they frequent the most. Their nests, made from fine shredded paper or other fibrous material, are often found in sheltered locations. They also have a musky odor that identifies their presence.
Damage: Their constant gnawing causes damage to structures and property. They contaminate food-preparation surfaces with their feces, which can contain the bacterium that causes food poisoning.
Description: The Roof Rat is the most common rodent in Florida. The adults are 12-14” inches long (including the tail). Their tail is longer than the combined length of the head and body. The body is sleek and graceful with prominent ears and eyes. They may be black with a gray belly, gray with a light grey belly, or brownish gray with a white or cream colored belly.
Attractions: This rodent is omnivorous but prefers to eat citrus foods. It also eats seeds, fruit, grains, and vegetables and will eat from your pantry and kitchen if it comes into your home. Inside the home, Roof Rats can be heard scratching or running in the walls or ceilings. Outdoors, the most recognizable sign is their damage to citrus and fruit trees where they leave a characteristic hole the size of a quarter to a half dollar in the fruit. Look for them in the upper parts of buildings or trees.
Damage: They chew through wires (potentially starting fires), gnaw through plastic and lead water pipes, make holes in walls and cause other structural damage. This rat is the same species that carried Bubonic Plague around the world. They carry and transmit a host of bacteria and infectious diseases which they spread through bites, contamination contact, feeding, and urine and feces droppings.
Description: The Norway Rat is also known as the Sewer Rat. While they are the most widely distributed rat in the United States, they are usually only found in Florida in seaports or canals. They are typically brown with scattered black coloring on the upper surface of their very coarse fur with a gray to yellowish white underside. They are between 6”-9” in length and sport a tail which is typically the same length as their body.
Attractions: Rats require ½- 1 fluid ounce of water daily when feeding on dry food. They are almost always found in or around water sources such as seaports, canals and sewers. Their preferred food source is meat and other proteins. Norway Rats are stronger and more aggressive than Roof Rats. They will climb to find food or shelter, and they can gain entrance to a building through any opening larger than ½” inch across. Their tracks can be seen in mud or on dusty surfaces and they leave droppings and gnawed food on surfaces as evidence of their presence.
Damage: Norway rats are burrowers and often dig in rubbish and under buildings or concrete slabs. Burrowing can cause damage by undermining the foundations of buildings, eroding levees, disfiguring landscape plantings, and blocking sewer lines. Like all rats, this rodent carries bacteria and infectious diseases which they spread through bites, contamination contact, feeding, and urine and feces droppings.