Pest Advice Blog

Rodent Identification: A Glimpse at Common Rodents of the United States

Thinking about spring cleaning? Truly Nolen asks you to think like a rodent. Don’t be a pack rat. Rodents love your clutter and so do the feasting insects, like cockroaches that carry and spread disease and pathogens to you and your family when they infest your home.

rodent identification

Cleaning? Or Rodent Infestation? Hmmm . . .

It’s a messy business, rodent infestation, what with trapping and removing rodent carcasses and then cleaning rodent droppings and urine, dealing with the vectors in a specific way to avoid air-borne allergens, including dangerous pathogens, such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, a lung infection caused by the inhalation of dried rodent fecal matter through air-borne particulates, coming into contact with an infected rodent’s saliva, urine or feces, or being bitten by an infected rodent. Truly Nolen’s thinking what you’re thinking. Break out the cleaning supplies; let’s get this place rodent resistant.

Clean your attic!

Cardboard boxes, stored newspapers, magazines and other paper products invite rodents into your home. With paper materials for nest stuffing, plus wood and electrical wiring to file their teeth on, who wouldn’t be tempted to move in and start a family in a quiet, dark, cozy, and cluttered attic?

Also, rodents can cause serious structural and electrical damage to homes and businesses throughout the US. Because they need to gnaw to keep their sizable teeth filed down, rodents chew wood and electrical wiring. Rodents are suspected to be responsible for an estimated 20 percent of undetermined house fires in the United States each year. For food and water, rodents like to forage in your kitchen, but can go without food and water for extended periods of time. However, if rodents can eat in your kitchen, they will.

Clean your kitchen!

Regularly wiping down and cleaning your kitchen countertops and dining areas and sweeping and vacuuming your floors can deter rodents. In your pantry, keep all open, dry goods stored in glass, metal or hard plastic containers. Storing dog food and birdseed in airtight containers is also critical in helping to exclude rodents.

Also, cleaning and sanitizing outdoor trash receptacles, in addition to clearing clutter and debris from your home’s exterior should be part of your spring cleaning plans.

Who are these rodents and where do they live?

Norway Rats: All over this land

norway rat - truly nolenIntroduced to America in 1775, Norway rats spread through the colonies, then crossed the country with the pioneers and now thrive everywhere in the US today, in close proximity to humans. Norway rats measure 12-18 inches, tail included and can be distinguished by their blunt noses, small close-set ears and long tails.

The Roof Rat prefers warmer, coastal states

Roof rats, Old World rodents, who contributed to the fall of Rome Roof-Ratand decimated half of Western Europe during the Great Plague, prefer warmer tropical climates. Also known as citrus rats in Florida, roof rats are prevalent in the other southern Atlantic and Gulf coastal states from Virginia to Texas.

On the west coast, roof rats are found along the Pacific coast of California, Washington and Oregon. Growing to 8 inches in length, roof rats are light gray or brown in color with 9-inch tails and can be identified by their sharp noses, large hairless ears and those long tails.

The House Mouse:

mouse close up isolated on whiteThe house mouse lives in a nest, near your home in every US state where Truly Nolen locations exist. Small rodents, ranging from 4.5 to 6 inches in length with light gray to dark brown bodies, the biggest thing on a house mouse besides its teeth, are its ears.

With pointy ears and sharp, flat teeth, house mice also sport long, dark tails. House mice, in an average 18-month lifespan can produce 12 litters of 5 to 6 young, one every 3 months.

While making a good showing in almost every part of the country, house mice run rampant in Georgia. They can damage your home and property any time of year, but house mice are most likely to enter your home seeking food and shelter during cooler months.

Rural rodents

Many other rodents live in the US, from many varieties of squirrels and chipmunks throughout the country to voles in the east and deer mice and wood rats in the west. However, these rodents live in wooded areas and don’t generally pose threats to homeowners and their properties.

Signs of Rodent Infestations

Gnawed electrical wiring, droppings near food areas, gnawed or chewed bags and boxes in your pantry, scratching or scurrying sounds in your walls and attic, squeaking and chirping noises in your walls and the presence of an ammonia-like smell indicate a rodent infestation. In the event you detect these signs of rodent activity, stop cleaning and contact your local Truly Nolen location for a free rodent inspection, immediately.

© 2016 Truly Nolen, Inc. All rights reserved. Toll-Free 800-GO-TRULY • Email