Size: 2-4 in. long and under 1 oz. in weight
Color: Light brown to light gray
Body Structure: Small, slender bodies covered in short hair with large ears, pointed snout and small eyes and feet
Characteristics: The house mouse matures quickly and is able to produce offspring at 2 months of age. In a lifetime, a typical house mouse may have upwards of 50 offspring, producing litters every 40-50 days with up to seven offspring in each litter. The average life span of a house mouse is around 1 year. The house mouse has a keen sense of hearing and communicates with other mice by emitting squeaks, which occasionally are audible to humans.
Habitat/Behavior: Outdoors, mice will nest in burrows, in piles of leaves or even beneath debris. Indoors, the house mouse nests in walls or in any sheltered location. Generally nocturnal, the house mouse feeds upwards of 20 times per day and is omnivorous. In fact, it is infamous for causing damage to wood, plastic, drywall and clothing. The house mouse often can be detected via its rod-shaped droppings.
Prevention/Treatment: Sealing gaps around doors and caulking cracks and crevices is a good preventative measure. Although primitive traps may be effective in short measure, seeing one mouse often is indicative of larger infestation. Because they can carry disease and other vector pests, it is recommended that you contact a pest control professional if you suspect an infestation of house mice.
Size: 6-8 in. and weigh approximately 1 lb.
Color: Gray to brown
Body Structure: Heavy, thick body with shaggy hair, small eyes and a blunt nose. Typically, the tail is shorter than the length of the head and body.
Characteristics: Norway rats reach maturity within 2 months of birth and breed year-round. Females may have as many as 7 litters in a single year with 4-8 offspring per litter.
Habitat/Behavior: Common to Georgia, the Norway rat requires water to survive and will nest in colonies within close proximity to water. That said, the Norway rat is adaptive to living in urban and populated areas and often can be found nesting in crawlspaces, basements, attics and in wall voids inside homes. Often, they will line their nests with shreds of paper or cloth. They are omnivorous and will readily feast on carcasses of dead animals. Likewise, they frequently are carriers of disease and parasites.
Prevention/Treatment: Sealing gaps around pipes and caulking cracks around your homes are a good preventative measure. Although traps may be immediately effective, presence of droppings or other telltale signs, such as holes and bite marks on food items and hard surfaces, may indicate a larger infestation. Because nests are difficult to locate and Norway rats are known disease and parasite carriers, it is strongly suggested that you contact a pest control professional before administering a do-it-yourself treatment.
Size: 10-12 in.
Color: Black or brown
Body Structure: Slender body with smooth fur, large eyes and ears with a pointed snout
Characteristics: Roof rats reach maturity at 4 months and can produce 4-6 litters of offspring each year. The average lifespan of a roof rat is 12 months. They also are characterized by their social hierarchy, where dominant males breed more frequently and subordinates are relegated to scavenging for food.
Habitat/Behavior: As the name implies, roof rats tend to nest above the ground in spots ranging from trees to roofs and attics. Roof rats are stellar climbers. Omnivorous, roof rats will eat any food that is readily available, although they prefer nuts, grains and berries. They also are food hoarders, scavenging for food and then storing much more than they can eat in a single feeding.
Prevention/Treatment: To prevent roof rats from entering your home, make sure cracks are sealed and that window screens are in a proper state of repair. Trimming back tree limbs so that they are not touching your home also may prevent roof rats from invading. Because roof rats are disease-carrying pests, you should exercise caution if you suspect infestation. Although traditional traps may be effective in catching a few of the vermin, a larger infestation may lurk. Likewise, poisonous rat bait should be administered with caution as rats are prone to spread bait around, meaning that your family and pets may come in contact with the rat poison. It is strongly suggested that you contact a pest control professional if you suspect a roof rat infestation.