Rodent Identification & Prevention Guide

What are rodents?

Rodents are common pest invaders here in the Greater Austin area and make up the largest group of mammals consisting of over 2,000 distinct species worldwide. All rodents have two large front incisors that grow continuously, so they gnaw on any object they come across to keep these teeth sharp and prevent them from overgrowing.

two mice eating a biscuit left on the ground outside a home in austin texas

Two of the most common rodent species problematic for people in Austin and the Central Texas area are mice and rats. Knowing the difference between these two rodents is helpful. From nose to tail, mice grow to between 6–8 inches in length while a rat can grow up to 18 inches. Mice have small, triangular heads compared to a rat’s larger, blunt head. Their droppings differ as well. Mouse droppings are about the size of a grain of rice and pointed at both ends; rat droppings are bigger and have rounded ends.

Are rodents dangerous?

Rodents are carriers of bacteria and pathogens that will make people ill and spread such deadly diseases such as hantavirus, leptospirosis, rat-bite fever, and salmonellosis. Besides the health risks they pose, rodents can cause a lot of damage inside your home or business; chewing through elements like drywall, pipes, wires, and flooring and damaging personal items like clothing, shoes, storage boxes, and furniture. Additionally, rodents will feed on stored food and contaminate food, food prep areas, and other surfaces with their excrement and saliva. Rats have poor eyesight, so they follow the same daily path from their nest to a food source, leaving grease marks along walls and furniture.

Why do I have a rodent problem?

Bird feeders, compost bins, garbage cans, and gardens are all common places on most properties where rodents forage for food. Once comfortable in your yard, rodents will often find their way into your home or business while they forage for food or to escape uncomfortable weather conditions. These agile creatures move inside through spaces in foundations, exterior walls, and rooflines. They also get inside through vents, spaces around utilities, and areas around windows and doors.

Where will I find rodents?

Rodents mainly live outside, nesting in secluded spots that are out of view of predators. Common outdoor nesting spots include dense vegetation, fallen trees, tall grasses, tree stumps, and woodpiles. Inside, rodents prefer to nest in secluded places away from heavy traffic areas. Attics, basements, crawlspaces, and wall voids all make excellent nesting spots for rodents. Rodents also tend to nest close to their sources of food; mice will only travel 10–50 feet from their nest to a food source and rats will travel 50–100 feet.

How do I get rid of rodents?

At Roberts Termite & Pest Control, we have been providing high-quality pest control here in Austin, TX for over 55 years. Our technicians use environmentally friendly products and advanced techniques to get rid of rodents and other common pests. Through quality customer service and flexible scheduling, we work with you to meet your unique pest control needs. Learn more about our rodent control services or schedule a free consultation by reaching out to Roberts Pest Control today!

How can I prevent rodents in the future?

In addition to our professional rodent control services, the following prevention tips will help you to prevent problems with rodents in your home or business:

  • Put mesh covers over vents and install door sweeps on doors (especially basement doors).

  • Place caps on chimneys and repair cracks in the foundation and exterior walls.

  • Remove bird baths and bird feeders from your property.

  • Keep storage areas organized and free of clutter.

  • Cut back trees branches from the exterior.

  • Fill in low-lying areas on your property.

  • Remove trash daily from your home or business.

  • Place locking lids on trash cans and compost bins.

  • Store all food either in containers with airtight lids or inside the refrigerator.

  • Fix leaking outdoor faucets and hoses, and keep gutters and downspouts clear of debris.

  • Keep outdoor eating areas free of food debris and picking up uneaten pet food between feedings.

 

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