One of the best ways to stay protected from rodents is to be able to easily identify them.
If you have seen something that looks like a rodent inside of your home or business, it can be such a jarring experience that you may not be entirely sure what you had seen. Unfortunately, there are a wide variety of mice and rats that can enter structures in Oklahoma. Even more disturbing, the type of species you find may be more likely to carry rodent-borne diseases that could impact the health of your family or anyone that encounters them or their waste.
Although most often found in wooded areas, deer mice will venture inside of sheds, outbuildings or homes that are located near them. In many cases, deer mice can cause extensive damages to wooden structures and carry several potential health concerns, particularly their increased risk of carrying hantavirus. During the colder months, deer mice are more likely to seek shelter indoors and will often enter structures where they may seek shelter at higher levels like attics or upper floors.
Only living around 14 months under optimal conditions, deer mice females can have three to five live young in just 24 days. Often these young deer mice will reach sexual maturity in as little as 8 weeks. To further compound this, each female will have two to four litters each year; making it incredibly important to eliminate deer mouse populations before their numbers become too large and population control becomes much harder.
Unlike other species of rodents that make their way indoors to escape changing weather or decreased temperatures, house mice are often active year-round. Unfortunately, this means that they could find their way into your home or business at any time of the year. Because they are most known for their infestation in homes, they can commonly be found feasting on pantry foods and prefer items like cereal. Often, house mice can survive on around 0.1 oz. of food daily with no additional water; however, they will seek out around 0.1 fluid oz. daily if their diet consists of primarily dry foods.
Perhaps one of the most shocking statistics when studying house mice is their ability to have litters of up to 16 individual pups in as little as three weeks. To further compound the severity of this, each reproductive house mouse will have seven to eight litters annually. As you might imagine, this poses a large problem for homeowners if they let their infestation remain unchecked and soon large populations of this mouse species will begin to overcrowd the structure they have decided to nest inside of.
Like deer mice, white-footed mice tend to infest homes that are near wooded areas or bordering agricultural land. Due to their adaptable nature, white-footed mice can be found in suburban areas although it is not as common. Most white-footed mice will live up to one year under optimal conditions in the wild and each year there will be nearly a complete replacement of the existing population. In most cases, mortality rates will spike in the sing and early summer due to increased predation, although this may not affect white-footed mice that have created nests indoors.
As an omnivorous species of mouse, white-footed mice tend to prefer seeds, berries, insects, fruits and fungi that may be available to them. Since they do not hibernate during the winter, they will often store nuts and seeds like squirrels to sustain themselves during the winter. Like other mouse species, white-footed mice are prolific breeders and can have two to nine live young up to four times annually. While white-footed mice may not be a common home pest, their presence in rural areas and outbuildings may make rodent control necessary to eliminate large populations.
Rats often distinguish themselves against mice because of the sheer size differences that exist between the two. As a larger species of rat, the Norway rat can reach up to 1 lb. in weight and span lengths of up to 40 cm. Since Norway rats are accomplished diggers, they are often attracted to homes that have thick shrubs, unmaintained grass or gardens. Once near a home, they will often find gaps or crevices that lead indoors that are as small as ½”. Unfortunately, once indoors, Norway rats can cause extensive damages or transfer a variety of diseases to humans through their urine or feces.
Like other rodents, Norway rats can quickly increase their population and can breed at any time throughout the year. Females will commonly have three to twelve litters each year and may produce between four and twenty-two pups with each litter. Norway rats can often reach sexual maturity within 5 months, making it easy for a small population to quickly become a much larger problem that requires that assistance of a rodent control professional.
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