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Rodent Identification & Behavior

What kind of rodents are a common problem in the Seattle area?
Mouse Identification and Behavior:

Deer Mouse

DEER MOUSE identification and appearance:

The Deer Mouse gets its name because it has similar coloration to the white-tailed deer: it is gray or tawny brown above (on the head and back) and white below (belly and underside). The Deer Mouse has larger ears than its cousin the House Mouse, and its eyes are large and dark. Deer mice also have white feet and a longer tail with fur.

DEER MOUSE Behavior:

The Deer Mouse tends to live in more rural environments unlike its House Mouse cousins who love highly populated urban environments. But the deer mouse can be prolific in areas where new neighborhoods have encroached upon the wild mouse territories. When performing mouse control, it is important to know the type of mouse you are dealing with, because they require different strategies. Deer mice might choose to nest just outside the home, in the roots of trees, under boards or logs, in tree stumps, sheds, garages, in wood piles and in animal burrows or squirrel or bird nests. Outdoor nests are made of stems, twigs, leaves and roots and maybe lined with fur or feathers.

Like the Norway & roof rat, mice are nocturnal creatures and are therefore rarely seen. Mice are capable of jumping 12 inches vertically and can climb vertically on just about any surface. They also have excellent balance and can travel along wires and thin surfaces. Mice only need an opening the size of a nickel to gain entry to your home. When mice invade a home it is very common for them to nest in attic and crawl space insulation, as well as under cupboards and stoves.

DEER MOUSE Food Habits:

Compared to rats, mice only travel a short distance to forage for food. Once a mouse has invaded a food source in your kitchen, it is contaminated and must be disposed of. The deer mouse is one of the primary species of mice responsible for transmitting the hantavirus to humans. The virus can be transmitted from an infected deer mouse by urine, saliva and feces of these mice. It is spread to humans mostly when airborne virus particles are inhaled  (dried urine, dried saliva, dried feces particles in dust). In sites with large populations of the mice, humans can become infected by the dusty accumulations of droppings and urine that become airborne when disturbed. It is best to wear protective clothing and a respirator when attempting to clean out and disinfect after an infestation.

Signs of DEER MOUSE Infestation

  • Small droppings
  • Scratching noises
  • Chewed through food containers

If you think you might have seen deer mice in your home, call us now at (425) 482-2100, or learn more about our extremely successful 4-step Rodent Removal and Mouse Control Process.


House Mouse

HOUSE MOUSE identification and appearance:

The House Mouse and the Deer Mouse are roughly the same size, but most people think the Deer Mouse is "cuter" with its two-tone fur and larger eyes and ears. The House Mouse will be all one color, light brown to black with short hair, with the belly fur  slightly lighter than the fur on its back. The ears and tail of the house mouse will have little or no fur. The house mouse gets its name because its main habitat is right next to humans. The House Mouse occupies more urban areas. They are prolific home invaders, especially in the Pacific Northwest.

HOUSE MOUSE Behavior:

Like the Norway & roof rat, mice are nocturnal creatures and are therefore rarely seen. Mice are capable of jumping 12 inches vertically and can climb vertically on just about any surface. They also have excellent balance and can travel along wires and thin surfaces. Mice only need an opening the size of a nickel to gain entry to your home. When mice invade a home it is very common for them to nest in attic and crawl space insulation, as well as under cupboards and stoves.

HOUSE MOUSE Food Habits:

Compared to rats, mice only travel a short distance to forage for food. Once a mouse has invaded a food source in your kitchen, it is contaminated and must be disposed of.  It is best to wear protective clothing and a respirator when attempting to clean out and disinfect after an infestation.

Signs of HOUSE MOUSE Infestation

  • Small droppings
  • Scratching noises
  • Chewed through food containers

If you think you might have seen house mice in your home, call us now at (425) 482-2100, or learn more about our extremely successful 4-step Rodent Removal and Mouse Control Process. Seeing one mouse during the daytime can be signs of a very large infestation. These rodents can breed quickly so don't wait!


Roof Rat

Roof Rat Behavior:

Roof rats are nocturnal pests and get their name from being agile climbers. They forage for food in elevated areas and often use trees and phone lines to gain access to buildings and houses. Roof rats can climb vertically up most surfaces, like brick face and wood siding. They are also excellent swimmers and often use sewer systems for traveling.

Roof Rat Food Habits:

Like most rats, roof rats will eat anything. Being omnivores, they are opportunistic creatures and will feed on everything from garbage to birdfeed. If a roof rat finds a food source in your pantry, it will contaminate more food than it will actually eat.

Roof rats typically forage for food after sunset, and are known to stash food in large amounts to be eaten later.

Signs of ROOF RAT Infestation

  • Dark marks on the outside of buildings where roof rats have climbed and the oil and dirt from their fur has rubbed off.
  • Trails and burrows in your attic insulation.
  • Because these rats tend to inhabit attics and spaces between floors, visual signs of their presence is usually scarce.

If you think you might have seen a roof rat in your home, call us now at (425) 482-2100, or learn more about our extremely successful 4-step Rodent Removal and Control Process.


Norway Rat

Norway Rat Appearance:

The Norway Rat is extremely common in the Seattle area and in the Pacific Northwest. More stout and huskier than the roof rat, the Norway rat weighs between 9-12 ounces and can be as long as 17 inches including its tail, which can be 7 to 8 inches.

Norway Rat Behavior:

Unlike roof rats, the Norway rat is more at home on ground level. Nevertheless, they are still good climbers and have been observed travelling along utility wires. When these rats take occupancy in a house, they typically nest in floor insulation in the crawlspace and leave at night to search for food. Norway rats are prolific breeders and can have as many as 12 in a litter. They give birth between 21-23 days after mating and can reproduce beginning at only 3 months of age.

Norway Rat Food Habits:

Norway rats are omnivores and will eat anything and everything available to them. Fruit, meat, and grains are all included in their diet. They have been documented eating eggs and even young chickens.

Signs of NORWAY RAT Infestation

  • Urine smell coming from crawlspace.
  • Droppings in your garage, basement or crawlspace.
  • Small chew marks on plastic bins or garbage containers.
  • Burrows along the foundation of your house or next to fences

If you think you might have seen a Norway rat in your home, call us now at (425) 482-2100, or learn more about our extremely successful 4-step Rodent Removal and Control Process.


Prevention Tips

The most effective way to keep rodents out of your house is to thoroughly inspect your crawl space and attic and seal up vulnerable entry points. However, here are some less involved actions you can take to ensure a rodent free home.

  • Do not let pet food sit out overnight, indoors or outdoors.
  • Remove any piles of debris, wood, and junk from around your home.
  • Keep food waste secure in bins. This includes your compost.
  • Take down that bird feeder: in the industry, it's known as a "Rat Feeder."
  • Keep doors closed day & night. An open garage door is an open invitation.
  • Remove bird feeders (Yes, we said it again... No one likes this one but you are also feeding the rats and mice)
  • Keep trees, shrubs, and plants trimmed and away from your home. Rats and Mice are excellent climbers.