Rats and mice are common pests found in residential homes and business properties all over the world. You can distinguish between rats and mice by how they look: rats are large, typically gray or brown rodents with long tails and small ears while mice are small and typically light brown rodents with dark-colored tails and large ears.
To have effective pest control against rodents, you would be better served by not only knowing what they look like, but also knowing about their behavior – for example, setting rat traps on your kitchen floor may not be as effective against roof rats (who like to set up dwellings in elevated places such as attics) as it would be as effective against the common house mouse.
Typically, rats are more cautious in that they’re very careful when something new is found in their environment, such as a bait trap. They will want to avoid this trap for some time before they get used to it, while mice are more curious and will want to investigate right away when something new is introduced to their environment.
The deer mouse is small, typically only 3 to 4 inches in size not including the tail (their tails can be about as long as their bodies, dark-colored on top and lighter on the underside). They have large, beady eyes and large fur-covered ears. They can vary in color from white to black, but they all have a distinguishable white underbelly and white feet. They’re nocturnal creatures and prefer nests made of plant material, and as such are attracted to homes with plenty of vegetation, but they can also set up their base in piles of rocks or firewood.
Deer mice are one of the main carriers of the hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. You can get this from direct contact with the rodent, their urine, or their droppings. This disease may also spread by breathing in contaminated dust with rodent urine or droppings. They’re also carriers of Lyme disease, rat-bite fever, and salmonellosis.
They typically have small heads, feet, pointed snouts, and large ears with some hair. They have light brown bodies with some gray shading, an off-white underbelly, and a dark tail. House mice depend on people for food and shelter, and as such are quite common in Arizona homes. They only eat about one-tenth of an ounce of food a day, but can produce as many as 50 droppings per day – which means they are a major health hazard for the average Arizona home.
They can transmit salmonella and leptospirosis via their droppings. They’re carriers of lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM), as well as tapeworms, infectious jaundice, and rat-bite fever.
Some signs that you have these pests in your home are droppings, urine odors, gnawed holes (and wires!), if you hear scampering noises, and even if your pet exhibits unusual behavior. If you suspect that your home has been invaded by these pests, get in touch with a pest exterminator right away.