Have you ever been lying in bed and heard scratches in the ceiling, noises in the roof, squeaks in the walls? Rats and mice are most active at night. They live in the same environment as humans, eating our scraps and nesting in our buildings. A rodent problem can be a particularly concerning pest issue as rodents are notorious for spreading illness and contaminating food sources. Whether you are a home or business owner, rodents can be terribly damaging not only to your business reputation but also to the physical structure of your property. Due to their gnawing habits, rodents will chew on anything they come into contact with. This includes electrical wiring and structural fixtures such as walls or beams.
It is widely accepted that if you see one rodent, there are most likely many more hidden away in the cracks and crevices of your property. Rodents are highly intelligent and sociable animals with a very short gestation period, meaning that if left unchecked, a small family of rats or mice invading your home can turn into a full-blown infestation in only a few weeks.
Some signs that you may have a rodent infestation are:
- nests or burrows
- torn or shredded food packaging
- structural damage to walls or wiring
- scratching noises at night time
- rodent droppings
- a distinctive aroma.
Roof Rat – Rattus rattus
Typically black or brown in colour and known to carry some very nasty diseases such as Leptospirosis, the roof rat is slender with a tail that is usually longer than the combined length of its head and body with an average length of 175 – 200 mm. Rats are nocturnal and prefer to forage for food above ground in elevated areas indoors and outdoors. They are excellent climbers and often use trees and utility lines to reach food and enter dwellings. Rats are a plant and animal eater, but are very fond of fruit. They nest inside and under buildings, or in piles of rubbish or wood.
Rats can carry nasty bacteria such as Trichinosis which can be contracted through eating undercooked meat of animals that have fed on rats. Rats contaminating food or food preparation surfaces which can transmit food poisoning. Rats can transmit rat bite fever through bacteria in their mouth.
House Mouse – Mus musculus
The house mouse can be light brown or light grey in colour, a small and slender creature with large ears and small eyes the average size is between 50 – 100 mm from head to tail. They have a keen sense of hearing, taste, smell and touch. While they are mostly active at night they can be seen during the day searching for food. Although they usually feed on cereal grains, they will eat almost anything. They nest within structures or burrows and establish a “territory” near food sources, generally 10 to 30 feet from their nest. The house mouse is a prolific breeder and is a disease carrier.
Mice transmit the bacteria Salmonella Typhimurium , while not the most dangerous of bacteria, it causes irritating intestinal symptoms including loose stool, cramps nausea and vomiting and can prove fatal for debilitated people. The bacterium is spread through foodstuffs contaminated by mice droppings and is the most common cause of food poisoning.
Mice can also transmit tapeworms causing humans to become infected when they ingest foodstuffs containing infected mice droppings. This frequently occurs after people touch mice or droppings and then neglect to carefully wash their hands before eating.
MurineTyphus is a mild illness that can be conveyed either by rat or mice fleas. The disease is contracted after a human bite victim itches the area where he was bitten by a flea carrying the disease. While scratching he inevitably pushes flea feces into the blood stream, and that permits the typhus to penetrate into the body. Symptoms, start 6 days to 2 weeks after the bite and include fever, aching muscles and headache.
Brown Rat – Rattus norvegicus
The brown rat, common rat, street rat, sewer rat, Hanover rat, Norway rat, brown Norway rat, Norwegian rat, or wharf rat (Rattus norvegicus) is one of the best known and most common rats.
One of the largest muroids, it is a brown or grey rodent with a body up to 25 cm (10 in) long, and a similar tail length; the male weighs on average 350 g (12 oz) and the female 250 g (9 oz). Thought to have originated in northern China, this rodent has now spread to all continents including Australia ( except Antarctica), and is the dominant rat in Europe and much of North America—making it by at least this particular definition the most successful mammal on the planet after humans. With rare exceptions, the brown rat lives wherever humans live, particularly in urban areas.
The brown rat is nocturnal and is a good swimmer, both on the surface and underwater, but unlike the related black rat (Rattus rattus), it is a poor climber. Brown rats dig well, and often excavate extensive burrow systems.
Similar to other rodents, brown rats may carry a number of pathogens, which can result in disease, including Weil’s disease, rat bite fever, cryptosporidiosis, viral hemorrhagic fever, Q fever and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
This species can also serve as a reservoir for Toxoplasma gondii, the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, though the disease usually spreads from rats to humans when domestic cats feed on infected brown rats.The parasite has a long history with the brown rat, and there are indications that the parasite has evolved to alter an infected rat’s perception to cat predation, making it more susceptible to predation and increasing the likelihood of transmission.
Trichinella pseudospiralis, a parasite previously not considered to be a potential pathogen in humans or domestic animals, has been found to be pathogenic in humans and carried by brown rats.
Effective rodent control is a process, not a one-time event. The Termite Choices technicians are trained to identify your rodent threat and the areas of risk to your property. A Termite Choices technician will firstly, evaluate and identify all the underlying reasons for rodents in your property. Once a thorough investigation has been carried out the technician will then work with you to treat the infestation in ways that are best for your family, pets and the environment. Termite Choices will create a customised pest control plan that effectively targets the rodent infestations exactly where they appear in your property—inside and out, all year long.
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