Rodents

Mice/Rats

House mouseHouse mouse – House mice are well adapted to living in close contact with humans and thrive where food and shelter are abundant. They eat and contaminate food supplies and also can transmit disease. Their gnawing activities can damage structures or property. To detect a house mouse infestation, look for droppings, fresh gnaw marks, and tracks, which indicate areas where mice are active. Search behind boxes, in drawers, in garages, or around woodpiles for nests made of finely shredded paper or other fibrous material. Mice are most active at night, but you also can see them during daylight hours.

Norway RatNorway/Wharf/Sewer Rat – sometimes called brown or sewer rats, are stocky burrowing rodents that are larger than roof rats. Their burrows are found along building foundations, beneath rubbish or woodpiles, and in moist areas in and around gardens and fields. Nests can be lined with shredded paper, cloth, or other fibrous material. When Norway rats invade buildings, they usually remain in the basement or ground floor. Norway rats live throughout the 48 contiguous United States. While generally found at lower elevations, this species can occur wherever people live.

Roof RatRoof Rat – sometimes called black rats, are slightly smaller than Norway rats. Unlike Norway rats, their tails are longer than their heads and bodies combined. Roof rats are agile climbers and usually live and nest above ground in shrubs, trees, and dense vegetation such as ivy. In buildings, they are most often found in enclosed or elevated spaces such as attics, walls, false ceilings, and cabinets. The roof rat has a more limited geographical range than the Norway rat, preferring ocean-influenced, warmer climates. In areas where the roof rat occurs, the Norway rat might also be present.

Squirrels

gray_squirrelTree/Gray – Squirrels sometimes cause damage around homes and gardens, where they feed on immature and mature almonds, English and black walnuts, oranges, avocados, apples, apricots, and a variety of other plants. During ground foraging they may feed on strawberries, tomatoes, corn, and other crops. They also have a habit, principally in the fall, of digging holes in garden soil or in turf, where they bury nuts, acorns, or other seeds. This caching of food, which they may or may not ever retrieve, raises havoc in the garden and tears up a well-groomed lawn. They sometimes gnaw on telephone cables and may chew their way into wooden buildings or invade attics through gaps or broken vent screens. Tree squirrels carry certain diseases such as tularemia and ringworm that are transmissible to people. They are frequently infested with fleas, mites, and other ectoparasites. Tree squirrels are active during the day and are frequently seen in trees, running on utility lines, and foraging on the ground. Tree squirrels do not hibernate and are active year-round. They are most active in early morning and late afternoon.

Flying SquirrelFlying – The fine, silky fur is gray in color on the back and white on the belly. The tail is gray above and pinkish cinnamon below. Adults range in size from 8.3 – 9.8 inches in total length. The Southern Flying Squirrel has large, black eyes, prominent ears, and a bushy, flattened tail. It has a loose fold of skin that connects the forelimbs to the hindlimbs from wrist to ankle. This fold of skin, called a “patagium,” serves as the gliding membrane when the limbs are fully extended. In addition to leaping from limb to limb, it travels from tree to tree by leaping into the air from a tree limb. Buoyed by its outstretched gliding membrane, it can soar an average of 20 – 30 ft to land at the base of the next tree, which it then climbs to repeat the process. Records of glides up to 100 ft long have been recorded. By movements of the patagium and tail, it can control the direction of its flight and can make turns of 90 to 180 degrees. The Southern Flying Squirrel is very social, and it is not uncommon to find as many as 6 – 7 individuals using the same nest cavity in the winter.