Learning Center

When you think of rodents, likely the first thing that comes to mind is mice and rats.  They are in fact rodents and the most commonly known ones but there are other animals that fit in this group.  They include squirrels, chipmunks, prairie dogs, voles, and even beavers.  One key feature all rodents share is front incisors that continuously grow. Here in Manatee County and surrounding areas, the rodents that frequently infest homes and businesses are Norway rats, roof rats, house mice, and tree squirrels.  Read on to discover more about these pests.

Common Types of Rodents


Norway Rats

Norway rats are a large “heavy” species of rat that are typically found invading basements and the lower levels of buildings because of their inability to climb efficiently. Norway rats have brown fur that is peppered with black hairs, and their underbelly is lighter in color than the rest of their body. Their tail is bi-colored, dark on the top and lighter on the bottom. These rats have blunt noses, small black eyes, and small ears; their bodies can grow up to 9 ½ inches in length, and their tails typically are between 6 and 8 inches in length.



Roof Rats

Roof rats have a slim, “athletic” build and are excellent climbers.  Because of their agility, they’re often found infesting attics and upper levels of buildings.  Roof rats are dark brown or black in color with gray hairs speckled throughout their fur; they have a pointed nose, large eyes, and large ears. The bodies of roof rats grow to about 8 inches in length, and their tails typically add another 6-8 inches.




House Mice

As their name suggests, the common house mouse is a frequent invader of homes and enjoy living in close proximity to people, their food and water, and the shelter their homes provide.  Typically, dark in color, these mice have lighter underbellies.  House mice have a slim build, ears covered in a soft velvety-like fur.  Their bodies grow up to 4-inches in length and have long, thin tails that add another 4- 5 inches to their total length.




Tree Squirrels

Aptly named, tree squirrels are often found in trees.  They come in a wide range of colors including gray, yellowish, red and brown.  They also have lighter colored underbellies.  Tree squirrels are known for their long bushy tails, a feature that helps them keep their balance. 


How do I tell the difference between mice and rats?

Perhaps the most telling difference between mice and rats is their size.  An adult rat is about three to five times larger than an adult mouse.  Here are some additional ways to tell the difference between rats and mice:

  • Rats have thicker tails than mice.
  • Rat tails are about the same length of their bodies while mouse tails are typically longer than their bodies. 
  • Rat ears have ears that are set further back and mouse ears tend to stick straight up from heads.
  • Rat droppings have rounded ends while mouse droppings have pointed ends, resembling grains of rice.

Are rodents dangerous?


Rodents should be considered dangerous to both people and property.  Rodents have the potential to carry and transmit a wide variety of disease and bacteria, including:

  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM)
  • Salmonellosis
  • Dysentery
  • Hantavirus
  • Leptospirosis

Their urine and feces may also trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions as well as contaminate food sources and food storage and preparation areas.

As previously mentioned, rodents have teeth that constantly grow.  In order to maintain reasonable lengths, they must continuously chew.  Unfortunately, inside a home or business, they can inflict significant damage.  Mice, rats, and other rodents often chew electrical wires, insulation, drywall, ductwork, boxes, furniture, clothing, and other personal belongings. 

Why do I have a rodent problem?

If your property provides food and water sources as well as suitable shelter, you could have a rodent problem.  Garbage cans and dumpsters, vegetable gardens and fruit trees, compost piles, and bird feeders all attract rodents.  If they find a way inside, they’ll raid the kitchen, pantry, and other areas where food is stored or prepared.  They may also nest under appliances to be close to their food sources.

Homes and businesses that face rodent infestations are ones that have holes in the roof or elsewhere on the exterior, gaps under doors (including garage doors), and other easily accessible entry points.

How do I get rid of rodents?

The first step towards a solution is to accurately identify the intruder.  If you suspect there’s a mouse in the house (or several), have heard activity in the ceiling at night, or if you’ve discovered droppings, contact Keller’s Pest Control.  We’ll accurately identify the pest and implement a rodent control solution that gets rid of the pests and keeps them out.  Give us a call today to learn more!