Rodent Identification and Behavior

/Rodent Identification and Behavior
Rodent Identification and Behavior 2018-01-09T08:01:59+00:00

Rodent Identification & Behavior

Norway Rat

norway-rat_lgAppearance: 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.

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.

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 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




Roof Rat


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.

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 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.




Deer Mice


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.

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.

Signs of Infestation


  • Small droppings
  • Scratching noises
  • Chewed through food containers




Signs of rodents – Rat or Mouse?



Mouse Droppings


Rat Droppings

Prevention TipsThe 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.
Keep doors closed day & night. An open garage door is an open invitation.
Remove bird feeders (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.