Rodents in florida

Pest Library

Rodents are dirty, stinky, and destructive food thieves who destroy as much as 20% of the world’s food supply each year and bring a host of health issues along with them. In the fall, we tend to have more pressure of rodents entering homes as the weather cools.

House Mouse

House Mouse

What do house mice look like?

The house mouse is a smaller rodent. It grows to approximately 5-1/2” to 7-1/2” in length, tail included.  These common house guests are typically gray or brown with large black eyes and a long hairless tail.

When are house mice most active?

House mice are mostly nocturnal animals and do the majority of their activities at night.

What attracts house mice?

House mice are mostly dominated in their wanderings by their search for food.  They usually feed on cereal grains, but will feed on many different kinds of human and pet foods. They can survive water for long periods of time.

Where are you likely to find house mice?

Outside, house mice are commonly found in a few different places:

  • In fields
  • Underneath wood piles
  • In trash
  • In appliances and old furniture that has been left outside
  • Under bushes and vines
  • In holes or gaps under buildings

Inside, house mice are most usually found in places such as: 

  • Near a furnace or boiler
  • Inside the wall and ceiling insulation
  • In basements or attics
  • Behind cupboards, bathtubs and counters
  • Inside unused furniture

Are house mice dangerous or destructive?

House mice are both dangerous and destructive when they reside inside homes, structures and businesses.

Because of their need to chew to keep their continuously growing incisors to a reasonable size, they are very destructive indoors.  They will chew on anything from woodwork to electrical wires, and from cardboard boxes to your favorite leather luggage.

They also present a health danger with their feces and the germs and pathogens that they bring along with them onto your kitchen surfaces, on your dishes, and in your pantry.  These germs can cause viruses and illnesses.

Roof Rat

Roof Rat

What do roof rats look like?

The roof rat is the worst and most abundant rodent in Florida.  Some people refer to them as ‘fruit rats’.  Including the tail, their sleek gray bodies are normally 12” to 14” long.  They can sometimes be black with a gray underbelly, or gray with a light gray underbelly, or brown with a white or cream underbelly.

When are roof rats most active?

Roof rats are nocturnal creatures and spend most days hiding away in secluded dark places.  Here in Florida, during the citrus season (September through March), they seem to increase in number because they are out partaking in the fruit harvest. 

What attracts roof rats?

Roof rats are attracted to garbage, fruit and nut trees, bird feeders, bird seed, and any place that can offer them food.

Where are you likely to find roof rats?

Roof rats are usually able to find a food source in just about any human environment.  They will rummage through garbage and rubbish, climb fruit trees, and get into buildings for food.  They like to nest high in trees, on woodpiles and plants, and in attics.  They are good climbers and very few obstacles stop them. Roof rats are arboreal which means they like to nest above ground (palm trees, etc).

Are roof rats dangerous or destructive?

Roof rats are very destructive.  Like all rodents, they have a need to constantly chew to keep their incisors from getting too long.  Once they enter into buildings they go ‘up’ into the attic and along the way the will chew duct work, electrical cords and anything else tasty that they encounter. 

One of the major dangers of having them in your home is the possibility of a house fire.  Many house fires that are deemed undetermined are said to most likely be the result of a rodent chewing through and damaging electrical wires causing a fire. 

Norway Rat

Norway Rat

What do Norway rats look like?

Norway rats are the largest rodent of the commensal rodents. The Norway rat, also known as the sewer rat, is typically brown with an off-white underbelly, 6” to 9” long (not including their long tail), and has black eyes.  This rodent is the most widely distributed rat in the United States.  Here in Florida, they are mostly concentrated around canals and sea ports.

When are Norway rats most active?

Norway rats, like their other rodent friends, are mostly nocturnal.  If you spot a Norway rat during the daylight hours this could be a good indication of a larger regional population.

What attracts Norway rats?

Norway rats are attracted to places that provide food, water, and shelter.  Food for Norway rats can be just about anything that people eat. They like to burrow in the ground under structures. 

Where are you likely to find Norway rats?

These rats are burrowers, which means that they burrow under buildings and other structures to make nests.  They like to make their nests near a water source, so they are usually found near canals, streams, lakes, sea ports, pools, and ponds.  Indoors, they are usually found in the lower levels of structures hiding in secluded places like inside the walls and in storage boxes. 

 Are Norway rats dangerous or destructive?

The Norway Rats are the infamous creatures that carried and spread the bubonic plague in the middle ages.  This prolific disease and virus carrier spends a lot of time in dirty filthy places and they freely roam around and inside our homes and businesses spreading the germs that they have picked up. 

Norway rats can be destructive to the structure and foundation of the buildings that they make their burrows under.  Indoors, they chew on just about anything which includes electrical wiring along with peoples’ possessions and furniture. 

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