Rodent Identification

What are rodents?

With over 1,500 species of rodents living worldwide, they make up the largest group of mammals. Examples of rodents that most people are familiar with include mice, rats, squirrels, chipmunks, beavers, and porcupines. As our habitats have merged with those of rodents, we find these resourceful creatures foraging for food, water, and shelter in our yards and homes. Rodents are very damaging pests due to their continuously growing front incisors. To keep their teeth from overgrowing, they gnaw on almost everything they come across.

a rat on a paint can in a home in tukwila washington

Species of rodents in and around Spokane, WA that property owners regularly encounter include field mice, house mice, roof rats, and Norway rats.

Field mice
Field mice have small, stocky bodies covered in coarse chestnut brown to dark brown fur, with a light grey underbelly. They have a blunt nose and short ears. Field mice live outside, often in areas near homes and buildings, allowing them to easily find their way indoors to forage for food and shelter.

House mice
House mice have oval-shaped bodies covered in light brown or gray fur and a lighter-colored underbelly. They have a pointed nose and small ears. House mice commonly invade homes and other structures.

Roof rats
Roof rats have a thin, athletic body that allows them to climb and enter into structures at the roof level easily. Dark brown or black fur with gray hairs scattered throughout covers their body, and their underbelly is a lighter color. Roof rats have a pointed nose.

Norway rats
Norway rats have a dense, heavy body covered in shaggy brown or gray fur, and the fur covering their underbelly is lighter in color. They have a blunt nose. They are not good climbers and enter into buildings at ground level.

Are rodents dangerous?

Rodents are very damaging pests to have living near or inside your home. They cause extensive structural damage by chewing on wires, pipes, insulation, drywall, and flooring. In addition to the structural damage they cause, rodents contaminate food, food prep areas, and the surfaces of a home with their saliva and excrement. Rodents can also create health problems. They spread bacteria and diseases, including hantavirus and salmonellosis. Their shed fur and trails of excrement trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks in some people. Rats and mice also feed on and cause damage to gardens and crop fields.

Why do I have a rodent problem?

You have a rodent problem because of the simple fact that rodents want to live near us. Mice and rats are commensal rodents, which means they want to “share our table”. Many rodents have come to somewhat rely on us for their food and shelter needs. Rodents are opportunistic and will take advantage of any access to food and shelter sources they find.

Where will I find rodents?

Rodents live on all continents except for Antarctica and can thrive in a variety of indoor and outdoor environments. Outside, these furry pests nest in tall grasses, fields, gardens, wooded areas, along the banks of streams, in tree hollows, and in the abandoned nests of other small animals. Rodents get into homes and other structures through vents, spaces around pipes and wires, cracks in the foundation, and spaces around windows and doors. They choose secluded nesting spots that are close to food sources. Wall voids, attics, basements, cabinets, and areas behind large appliances are common nesting spots.

How do I get rid of rodents?

For homeowners looking for a responsible approach to getting rid of the rodents on their property, we suggest partnering with Alta Pest Control. We focus on low-impact pest control that is effective at eliminating rodents and other household pests while minimizing the impact on the environment. Let our family owned company protect your home and family from our area’s most persistent household invading pests! If you are looking for more information about our rodent control services, reach out today and speak with one of our friendly and helpful professionals!

How can I prevent rodents in the future?

To keep mice and rats out of your home or business, the trusted pest control experts at Alta Pest Control recommend the following prevention tips:

  • Cut tree branches away from the outside of your home.

  • Keep your lawn cut short.

  • Repair any damage to the roof and roofline of your home.

  • Seal up openings in the foundation and exterior walls of your house.

  • Put sheet metal (about 2 feet high) around the base of fruit trees on your property.

  • Pick up fallen fruits and vegetables from garden areas. 

  • Keep locking lids on trash cans and compost bins.

  • Keep outdoor eating areas free of food debris.

  • Remove bird feeders and other wild animal feeders from your yard.

  • Leave at least a three-foot barrier between shrubs and bushes and the exterior of your house.

 

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