An adult rat can squeeze into your home through a hole as small as the size of a quarter inch.
Rats can live for up to 18 months, but most die before they are one year old. They have strong teeth that allow them to chew through glass, cinderblock, wire, aluminum and lead. Smell, taste, touch and sound help direct them to their food sources.
Rats are also responsible for spreading Bubonic Plague, also known as the "Black Death". Although fleas are primarily responsible for infecting humans, they were originally infected with the plague by feeding on the blood of rats.
Norway rats eat a wide variety of foods but mostly prefer cereal grains, meats, fish, nuts, and some fruits.
When Norway rats invade buildings, they usually remain in the basement or ground floor. They also live in fields, farms, woodpiles and buildings. Their nests are usually lined with shredded paper or cloth.
These rats are known for the damage they cause by chewing on materials, urinating on food and eating stored foods. They have also been known to chew on wires, which can cause fires to start. They also carry disease and ectoparasites. Rats will also attack both animals and humans. Human babies and even adults have been killed in rat attacks.
Roof Rats are excellent climbers and get their name because they usually live high off the ground, like on the roof of a building. They have very poor vision and are color blind, but they have extremely strong senses of hearing, smell, touch and taste. Rats have four to six litters a year and each litter has 6 to 12 babies in it. These rats are only pregnant for about 21 to 23 days and they can start reproducing when they are three months old.
Roof Rats prefer eating fruits, berries, vegetables, cereal, pet food, nuts, grain, slugs, snails and rotten food.
Roof Rats are excellent climbers and they usually live in spaces on the tops of buildings, on roofs or in attics. They also live in sheds, garages, boxes, ceilings, under floors, in wood heaps and in thick grass.
Roof rats cause damage to structures by chewing, eating stored foods and carrying diseases, such as Hantavirus. They are most famous for spreading the highly contagious bubonic plague in the Middle Ages. Rats will also attack both animals and humans. Human babies and even adults have been killed in rat attacks.
The House Mouse makes its own nest but lives in groups, sharing escape holes and common areas for eating, urinating, and defecating. It takes turns grooming its fellows, especially on the head and back, where it is difficult for the animal to groom itself. If the population grows too dense, many females, particularly adolescents, become infertile.
A highly migratory existence and rapid rate of reproduction enable the House Mouse to thrive; it takes advantage of situations not readily available to other species, including cultivated fields, which offer a rich if temporary habitat. As a crop develops, the mice move in and have several litters in quick succession, building large populations quickly; when the field is harvested or plowed, they move out. Many perish, many find other fields, and still others invade buildings. Sometimes these migrations assume plague proportions: In 1926-1927, an estimated 82,000 mice per acre (202,000 per ha) wreaked havoc in the Central Valley of California. In such densities, House Mice, though generally timid, have been known to run over people's feet and even to bite.
These mice eat or their droppings contaminate large quantities of grain and other valuable foodstuffs. Their scientific name derives from the Sanskrit musha, meaning "thief." They chew or shred anything chewable or shreddable, including furniture and wires, and sometimes start fires. They can scurry up rough vertical walls and even pipes; they gnaw holes in walls, floors, and baseboards. Like Black and Norway rats, House Mice can spread disease. In the wild, birds and mammals are predators. Centuries ago, cooked mouse meat was a folk remedy for colds, coughs, fits, and fevers, but it is not recommended today. The white mice used in research laboratories are albinos bred from this species.
The deer mouse rarely invades homes, and is found in rural areas. The deer mouse makes its home outdoors in sheltered areas such as hollow tree logs or piles of debris. On the rare occasions the deer mouse comes indoors, it prefers undisturbed areas such as attics.
The deer mouse transmits the potentially fatal Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. The disease can be transmitted through contact with mouse carcasses, or by breathing in aerosolized urine droplets of infected deer mice.