Common Rodents of
North America

Everything you need to know about mice and rats
and how to control them

Click on a picture below to learn about that rodent

Common House Mouse White Footed Mouse Deer Mouse
Common House Mouse
(Mus musculus)
White-footed Mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) Deer Mouse
(Peromyscus maniculatus)

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Brown Rat House Rat Rat

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  Brown Rat
(Rattus norvegicus)
House Rat
(Rattus rattus)

Common House Mouse

Why are they in my house?!?

Mice get into everything. If they have found an easy source of food, then they won’t want to leave. They could also be trying to get out of the cold and into your warmth. House mice primarily feed on plant matter, but they will also accept meat, dairy products, or just about anything they can tear open and stuff in their mouths. They will drink water but require little of it, relying mainly on the moisture present in their food. They will eat their droppings to acquire nutrients produced by bacteria in their guts. House mice, like other rodents, do not vomit.

Where are those little guys hiding?

Mice are mostly active during the night. They live in a wide variety of hidden places that are near food sources and construct nests from various soft materials. Mice are territorial and one dominant male usually lives together with several females and young. Dominant males respect each other's territory and normally enter another's territory only if it is vacant.

Act Now!Oh, the damage they can do…                      

House mice can transmit diseases, and can damage food and food packaging. They can also cause substantial damage when feeding on grain. They carry diseases such as Lyme disease and Hantaviruses, which cause severe illness in humans. It is thought that house mice were the primary reason for the taming of the domestic cat. Various mousetraps have been developed to catch mice. Generally, rats are more harmful to humans than mice. Each year, rodents cause more than one billion dollars in damage in the United States alone

Take care of a mouse problem earlier rather than later…              

Mice can go from a small problem to a very large one in no time. A female mouse has an average litter 6-8 young. One female can have some 5-10 litters per year and they can reach sexual maturity within five weeks, so their population can increase very quickly!

Invasion of the House Mice???

Gough Island in the South Atlantic is used by 20 species of seabird for breeding, including almost all of the world's Tristan Albatross and Atlantic Petrel. Until house mice arrived on the island in the 19th century with seamen, the birds did not have any mammalian predators. The mice have since grown unusually large and have learned to attack albatross chicks, which can be nearly one meter tall but are largely immobile, by working in groups and gnawing on them until they bleed to death. The estimated 700,000 mice on the island kill a total of over 1 million bird chicks per year!

Deer Mouse

The Deer Mouse is distantly related to the common house mouse and has the same basic living style and destructiveness of the common house mouse. The deer mouse is common in the American Southwest, particularly in New Mexico, where the species is known to carry Hantavirus.

White-footed Mouse

The White-footed mouse has many of the same habits as the common house mouse. It ranges from the northeast United States to the southwest and Mexico. This species is similar to Peromyscus maniculatus, the Deer Mouse in looks, but contrary to popular belief it is not the same mouse. Like the deer mouse, it may carry Hantaviruses, which cause severe illness in humans. It has also been found to be a carrier for the Lyme disease causing spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi.

Brown Rat (Norway Rat)

Where do they come from?

The Brown Rat is one of the best known and most common rats, and it is conveniently one of the largest. This little creature has followed humans to every continent except Antarctica. And if you have any food in your house at all, they could easily be there to eat it.

What do they look like?

The fur is coarse and usually brown or dark grey, while the under parts are lighter grey or brown. They can be up to 10 in. long, with the tail another 10 in. longer. Males weigh an average of 12 oz. and females are about 9 oz.

What do Brown Rats eat?

The brown rat is a true omnivore and will consume almost anything. Their favorite foods in order are scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese, and cooked corn kernels. Their least favorites are raw beets, peaches, and raw celery.

What are they doing?

The Brown Rat is usually active at night and is a good swimmer, both on the surface and underwater, but unlike the related Black rat they are poor climbers. Brown rats dig well, and often excavate extensive burrow systems.

Rats Laughing???

Rats may also emit short, high frequency, ultrasonic, socially induced vocalization during rough and tumble play, before receiving morphine, or having sex, and when tickled. The vocalization is described as a distinct "chirping," has been likened to laughter, and is interpreted as an expectation of something rewarding. Like most rat vocalizations, humans cannot hear the "chirping" without special equipment. In clinical studies, the laughter is associated with positive emotional feelings, and social bonding occurs with the tickler, resulting in the rats becoming conditioned to seek the tickling. However, as the rats age, there appears to be a decline in the tendency to laugh.

House Rat (Black Rat, Ship Rat, or Roof Rat)

What’s the difference between a Black rat and a Brown Rat?

Black rats a poor swimmers and great climbers, while Brown rats are great swimmers and poor climbers. This means that if you have rats in your attic, it’s probably a Black rat, while if you find tunnels or nest near water then its probably a Brown rat. Both types of rats are similar in size, but black rats are on average an inch shorter in length. And of course let us not forget that one is black while the other is brown.

How they got to your house from Asia…

The Black Rat originated in tropical Asia and spread through the Near East in Roman times before reaching Europe by the 1500s and spreading with Europeans across the world. Today it is largely confined to warmer areas, having been replaced by the Brown Rat in cooler regions.

Rats acting like dogs…

It is common for rats to groom each other and sleep together. As with dogs, rats create a social hierarchy, and each rat has its own place in the pack. There is always a dominant rat. Groups of rats tend to "play fight", which can involve any combination of jumping, chasing, tumbling, and boxing. Play fighting involves rats going for each other's necks, while serious fighting involves strikes at the others' back ends.

Interesting Fact…

A rat's temperature is regulated though its tail and if they get too hot they will lay on their back so that they can "sweat" through the soles of their feet. Also, mice are afraid of rats, which often kill and partially eat them.

Rodent Control

Sometimes, rats and mice can become a very destructive nuisance to humans. They can get in to food, destroy plastic and paper objects for building nest, and carry diseases that can easily make us very sick. There are several methods available for ridding your home or office of these creatures. I have made a list of all the types of rodent control products that I could find. See which one would work best for you. All the products are linked to an online seller if you would like to buy them.

Rodent Poison Baits

I do NOT recommend poison baits to kill rats or mice. After a rat eats the poison it will crawl to into a place to die. That place usually ends up being inside the walls of your home. If you have never had the "joy" of smelling a dead rat for days, I don't recommend it. Another reason for not using poison baits is that a pet or child could get into that same poison which would create a potentially life threatening situation.

Regular mouse traps

I'm sure most of you know what I mean by regular mouse traps. We all have seen the traditional  wooden mouse trap with the metal spring. There is now other options available that will kill rodents quicker or are easier to set. If you want more information on a trap, you can click on it and it will take you to a website that you can buy them from.

Classic Mouse Trap Quick Kill Mouse Trap Quick Set Mouse Trap Power Kill Rat Trap
  Classic Mouse Trap Quick Kill Mouse Trap Quick Set Mouse Trap Power Kill Rat Trap  

Mouse and rat glue traps

Glue traps are one of the most popular forms of rodent control. They are usually a tray or piece of thick paper that has a really sticky glue on it. You can use large glue traps that are meant for rats on both rats and mice. Just don't use a mouse glue trap to catch a rat because it is bigger and will be able to move the glue trap around and might pull itself off. If you just leave the rodent on the glue pad, it will die of dehydration and you can throw it away. You can also catch and release the rodent far from your house. Just pour vegetable oil or orange oil on the glue trap and it takes away the stickiness so that the rodent can free itself.

Mouse Glue Trays Rat Glue Trays Pest Traps
  Mouse Glue Trays Rat Glue Trays Pest Traps  

Live catch mouse traps

If you want to catch and release mice instead of killing them, then you should use these types of traps. Most are just a simple metal or plastic box with a mechanism that lets mice in but not out. Some traps come pre-baited and others require you to add your own inside the trap. After you catch that troublesome creature, you can take it out to a field or other location far from your home.

Tin Cat Mouse Trap Poly Cat Mouse Trap Windup Multiple-Catch Mouse Trap Corner Cat Mouse Trap
  Tin Cat Mouse
Poly Cat Mouse
Windup Multiple-Catch Mouse Trap Corner Cat Mouse

Electronic mouse and rat traps

These traps are your most expensive but also the easiest and most effective to use. You just put whatever bait you want in the trap and the rodent will come along get zapped and die. Clean up is not very messy and you don't have to reset the trap. The traps usually run on AA, C, or D batteries and last for a while without having to replace them.

Electronic Mouse Trap Electronic Rat Trap
    Electronic Mouse Trap Electronic Rat

Sonic rodent repellents

Sonic repellents are little electronic devices that you plug into the wall or have batteries. They emit a high frequency sound that only mice and rats can hear. This noise is so annoying to them that it acts as a repellent. This method is a more expensive yet less messy method to prevent rodents from being in your home.

Sonic Pest Chaser Rodent Pest Chaser
    Sonic Pest Chaser Rodent Pest Chaser    

Organic repellents

Some companies make organic repellents. These are usually some type of powder or liquid that you put around areas that rodents keep getting into. A perfect use for this type of rodent control would be around trash cans outside. Be sure that you use an organic repellent though because you don't want any pets or children getting into poisons.




Product: Victor Tin Cat
Buyer: Cat Lover (Louisville, GA)

Comments: We had a mouse in our kitchen and did not have the heart to kill it. We set these traps and within 4 hours we had caught the mouse. We baited it with a cracker and he walked right in. It was also very easy and clean to release him. Would recommend if you are not in to killing the mouse but want the mouse removed neatly. Also was perfect because I have a cat but did not want the cat to eat the mouse. The trap kept the two separated.

Product: Electronic Mouse  Trap
Buyer: T. Parkman (Berkley, Massachusetts)

Comments: I bought this trap several years ago from a home Improvement catalog and I've caught so many mice with it that I can't even count. Right now it has a broken hinge so the door comes off in your hand and I have a wooden match stick jammed in the trip switch and it still works fantastic. Make sure you check this trap everyday so you don't get a decayed mouse in it because it's hard to get the smell out which will deter another mouse. The green light will blink for I think twenty four hours before it goes out indicating a caught mouse so you have plenty of time to check it. The red light will blink if the batteries need replacing which isn't that often. This works very nicely and i highly recommend it over other traps because of it's simplicity and ease of use.

Product: Power Kill Mouse Trap
Buyer: J. McCormick (Virginia)

Comments: This mousetrap is the easiest trap to use I have found. I had no success with the standard wooden traps, the "humane" traps that simply catch them to be released, or the glue traps; however, once I had this one set, I had my mice in a day. This trap is a little more heavy-duty than the standard traps. It's all plastic and metal (no wood). There is also virtually no chance of setting the trap off on yourself while you attempt to bait it for the mice. An ideal trap.

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