All About Commensal Rodents

The term commensal is often applied specifically to rodent pest of the landscape, which partake of human food. House mice and rats are the chief commensal rodents.

Dictionary dot com defines commensal as "either of two different animal or plant species living in close association but not interdependent".

Why would you not want rodents such as mice or rat in your home! They carry diseases and they also eat our food. Plague, trichinosis, murine typhus, salmonella's, handovers, rat bite fever and dysentery. They do structural damage. Roof rats will gnaw on plastic, lead and wood. They also contaminate our food. Rodents consume or contaminate enough food to feed 200 million people each year.

Rodents have poor vision but learn to recognize shapes. Their touch and smell are very acute and their hearing is very good. They have a good sense of taste and have very good physical abilities.

Mice are very fast and can move at about 12 feet per second and can jump up to 2 feet. They are also excellent climbers. Rodents can climb up wires, pipes and ropes. Mice can climb a foot straight up and fall 8 feet without getting hurt. Mice can also survive and thrive at 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rats are not very good runners but are very good climbers. Rats can climb a 1 1/2 inch pipe, jump and can fall 200 feet without being hurt. Both rats and mice are very capable swimmers. The house mouse has a feeding range of about 10 to 30 feet and eats 1/10 ;ounce per day - 20 to 30 times per night. They are very curious creatures and will explore new objects. Mice can obtain water from their food supply. Mice reach their sexual maturity in 6 weeks and their gestation period is 19 days. They average 5-6 per litter.

Rats are neophobic "Neophobia is the fear of new things or experience".

There are some differences between the Norway rat and Roof Rat. The Norway rat has a hairy, thick body and small eyes. The ears are small and nose blunt. The Norway rat lives in colonies and prefer to burrow. They eat about 10 oz. Of food daily. They are neophobic - will stay away from new objects for up to two weeks.

The roof rat has a light slender body and large eyes. Their ears are large and they prefer to climb. They like fruits, nuts and vegetables. Their tails are very long. Their long tails are use for balancing when running wires or fences. They love to get in attics.

Trapping and Baiting

Traps for mice should be set about 10 feet apart and for rats should be set about 20 feet apart. Snap traps work best with rats. Glue boards are not very effective for rats but may work on mice. Remember, rats are neophobic. It can take up to 2 weeks for rats to enter a trap. If you use a bait it can also take 2 weeks for the rat to take the bait and up to 4 to 8 days for the rat to die with a multi-dose bait.

If you intend on using a bait, rats could die in your attic or inside a wall in your home and be un-retrievable. This could cause your home to smell a terrible order for quite some time. These baits are anti- coagulant, the rats hemorrhage internally. This may cause them to look for water and fresh air. There are no guarantees the rat will not die in your attic or wall. The belief that some bait will cause the rats not to smell after dyeing are just myths.

Victor M205 Easy Set Rat Trap    |    Mouse Traps (8 Pack)