What do mice, rats, squirrels and gophers have in common, besides the fact that they can cause trouble for homeowners? They’re all rodents. And although rats and mice are some of the most common, there are thousands of species in this family of critters, with between 1,000 and 2,000 present on every continent of the world except Antarctica. Far from being simple creatures, these critters have learned that spending time around humans provides them with the essentials they seek – namely easy access to food and shelter – without expending much, if any, effort.
Rascally Rodents Causing Problems?
Are you having rodent problems? Call Critter Control today at (574) 825-1079 in South Bend and Elkhart,
or (260) 632-5106 in the Fort Wayne area and our trained staff will be there to help with your rodent removal needs.
What Do Rodents Look Like?
All rodents possess a set of front teeth that never stop growing. It’s why rats, mice and even rabbits have a reputation for gnawing constantly. Without that gnawing action, their teeth grow out of control. While rodents vary in size based on species, the ones you’re likely to encounter in your home, yard or place of business are usually under a foot long, excluding their tails. Rodents that climb well typically have long tails – like mice and rats – while rodents that burrow typically have short tails – like voles and gophers.
Most rodents have brown, black or gray fur, although some may have a reddish-brown appearance, based on their location. Other similarities between the many species include smaller eyes and larger, rounded ears. Nearly all rodents have sharp claws and hands that allow them to grasp and burrow or climb with ease.
Where do Rodents Live?
Rodents live nearly anywhere. From open prairies to forests to more extreme habitats like jungles, the tundra and deserts – these critters are literally everywhere. Most rodents are social creatures, meaning where you see one, you’ll see many. Depending on the individual species, they might build their nests high off the ground in a tree or your attic or below ground in a burrow in your garden or your basement crawlspace.
Rodents are opportunistic and seek out homes, yards and commercial spaces where humans live and work to build nests. Smaller species, such as mice, can gain entry through holes as tiny as a quarter of an inch in diameter, making it difficult to exclude them from your home or work space. They’ll stop at nothing to stake out a prime piece of real estate, using their abilities to climb, jump, run, dig, swim or even glide into a manmade structure for a chance at “the good life.”
Are Rodents Dangerous?
While rodents are rarely outright aggressive toward people and pets, they are dangerous in that they carry diseases and host even smaller pests like lice, fleas and ticks which carry their own set of diseases. Meningitis, hantavirus, leptospirosis, salmonella or even the 100%-fatal-if-left untreated rabies virus are all possibilities when dealing with rodents. The fleas on rodents can carry plague and expose people and pets to intestinal parasites, while ticks brought in on the backs of rodents carry the potential risk of Lyme disease.
So, although rodents aren’t outright dangerous, they can cause serious problems. And the problems don’t end at the potential health risks at living alongside these adorable-yet-burdensome critters: they also cause untold billions of dollars’ worth of property damage each year. Because they’re always gnawing, they can lay waste to your home’s supports, insulation or even electrical wires and compromise the safety of your home. Their nibbling and never-ending search for food can lead them to lay waste to your pantry or stored crops. Burrowing rodents destroy fields and irrigation systems.
Do I Have A Rodent Problem?
Most of the early signs of a rodent infestation are noises. You’re apt to hear scurrying noises coming from between your walls or in your ceiling, attic, basement or crawlspace. The gnawing habits of rodents may also lead to some odd sounds, particularly at night as many rodents are nocturnal. High pitched squeaking, squealing or chattering is also a possible sign of a rodent problem.
You’ll also find feces sprinkled around your house, particularly near sources of food like your pantry. These tiny brown pellets can harbor infectious germs, so cleaning them up can be a chore. If an infestation has truly grown, you might even see a live critter darting through your home, although they normally will try to avoid notice.
How to Deal with Rodents
For nearly as long as humans have existed, they’ve been trying to figure out how to minimize the damage from rodent infestations. The best way to deal with rodents is to exclude them from your space as much as possible by sealing up cracks, crevices and other possible points of entry and making your home unappealing by sealing up food and removing sources of shelter for them. Beyond that, a rodent infestation requires treatment.
While many DIY methods of rodent removal exist, from live and kill traps that are only mildly effective to poisons that could put your family and household pets at risk, the best way to deal with a rodent problem is to call in a professional.
The experts at Critter Control can help you identify possible means of entry for rodents and the best ways to keep them out. They can also help safely and humanely remove live critters from your home or work space. Our wildlife specialists will help you formulate a safe, humane and effective plan to get rid of rodents for good. Give us a call at (574) 825-1079 to start planning the eviction of your unwanted furry roommates today.