Weighing ½ to one ounce, the house mouse is grey in color with a 3-4 inch body, and a tail of the same length. Their muzzles are pointed, their ears are large, and their eyes and bodies are small.
The female reaches sexual maturity in 35 days and averages eight litters per year, each of which averages six offspring of their own. House mice typically produce their largest litters in the spring, and begin breeding at five to six weeks old. Their life span is approximately one year.
The house mouse is a good climber, can jump up to 12 inches high, and can jump down from a lofty eight feet. House mice can easily squeeze through holes and gaps wider than ¼-inch. They prefer to nest in dark, secluded areas, where there is little chance of disturbance. Their foraging area is usually small – no more than 20 feet. However, if abundant food is nearby, they’ll nest within four to five feet. House mice nibble on food, preferring snacks such as seeds and cereals.
The entry hole should be sealed with copper meshing. Within structures, house mice can be controlled effectively by using anticoagulant baits placed in tamper-resistant containers. Snap traps and glue traps are also very effective methods of control.
The fur of a Norway rat is coarse, shaggy, and brown with some black hairs. The head and body measure seven to ten inches long, with the tail adding another six to eight inches. The muzzle is blunt, eyes and ears are small, and the tail is bi-coloured.
Adults are sexually mature within two to five months. Females produce three to six litters per year, each averaging seven to eight young. Adults live from six to twelve months. They have poor sight, but keen senses of smell, taste, hearing, and touch.
Rats are nocturnal. Norway rats prefer to nest in burrows in the soil (i.e. under sidewalks and concrete pads, streams/riverbanks, railroad truck beds, next to buildings, in low-ground cover, etc). The burrows typically have one main entry hole and at least one escape hole.
They prefer foods such as meat, fish, and cereals, and require a separate non-food water source. Their foraging range is large, roughly 100 to 150 feet from their nest. Rats are known to cause significant structural and product damage.
The keys to a successful rodent control program are identification, sanitation, elimination of harbourage, and rodent-proofing.
Several anticoagulant rodenticides are available in various forms. When baiting outdoors, these products should be placed in tamper-resistant bait stations. Baits can also be placed deep into burrows, but the burrows should be collapsed soon thereafter.