It can help if you are able to identify the particular type of rodent who has invaded your home, as they have different characteristics, behavior patterns, and diet.
A cotton rat will generally be between 5 & 8 inches in length with a bare tail which is not as long as the head and the body. Their appearance is that of a body covered with coarse hair with ears that are almost hidden by the hair. Cotton rats are usually gray on their back with a mixture of black hairs interspersed and a light colored underside.
Be very wary of trying to disturb their droppings as the cotton rat is a host for hantavirus. People who inhale this airborne virus can become infected, so you it is best to leave the cleanup
This is a large rodent that can easily weigh in excess of 1 pound and reach a length of 15 inches. Their tail alone can reach a length of 8 inches and their body is distinguishable by shaggy fur that is either brown or gray in color.
The Norway rat very often remains in hiding throughout the day and they are happy to consume a range of foods such as meats, grains, fruit and nuts. They very often make their nest as close as possible to a water source and live in a community which contains dominant and subordinate rats.
The females are prolific breeders and can have as many as 12 litters per year. If you spot a Norway rat during the day, it is a fair indication that you could have a potentially large infestation on your hands.
One of the most telling signs to confirm that you have Norway rats on your property is the shape of their droppings, which are blunt and up to 8 inches. These are often scattered at regular intervals along their chosen pathway.
The Roof rat is either black or brown in color and can grow to over 16 inches long. It has a long tail, with large ears and eyes and a pointed nose.
This rat is smaller and sleeker than a Norway rat and it has smooth fur. They like to nest inside and underneath buildings and they have excellent climbing abilities, which means they can easily find their way to your attic.
Roof rats are also very prodigious breeders and one female is capable of contributing 40 new rodents within a 12 month period. Visual sightings are often a confirmation that their hiding spaces are already taken up by other rats or recent construction activity has disturbed them.
Their droppings are capsule shaped. Another strong pointer that you have Roof rats are marks along surfaces, which they produce as they travel along an edge.
If you don’t have rats then you might have an infestation of Deer mice or House mice.
The Deer mouse is round and slender in appearance and is up to 4 inches in length with a pointed nose and large dark black eyes. The body is bicolored with a white underbelly. They like to avoid human contact, which is why they choose attics, basements, or crawl spaces.
If you find a nest, gnawed objects, or if you actually see one, these are signs of a Deer mice infestation. As they are known carriers of dangerous diseases like hantavirus, they need to be eliminated from your home as soon as possible.
House mice have a covering of short light brown or gray hair with a lighter colored belly. Their droppings are pointed on both ends and are rod-shaped in appearance.
These mice tend to come looking for somewhere to nest when the temperature outside starts to drop. They are highly capable of using any opening such as those created by utility lines and gaps beneath doors.
House mice urinate as a means of communication with other rodents and therefore you may notice a distinct odor when you have an infestation.
Although it is helpful to be able to identify who or what has taken up residence in your home, it is advisable to seek professional help from Attic Guys to coordinate their removal and the decontamination process, especially when you consider the health risks that these rodents can pose.