Rodent Identification In Florida
What Are Rodents?
Rodents are frequently found both inside and outside our homes and businesses. They live in large populations throughout West Palm Beach and the South Florida area, and have learned to survive by living near people and taking advantage of the resources we offer them. Mice and rats are some of the most common rodents that cause problems inside our residential and commercial properties.
All rodents, no matter their species, have front incisors that continuously grow throughout their life. These animals are always gnawing on the objects they come across to wear down their teeth in order to prevent them from overgrowing. This behavior is one of the many reasons why rodents are such unwanted and dangerous pests.
Below is a quick description of our area’s most common rodents - Norway rats, roof rats, and mice.
Norway rats are large and poor climbers. They are typically brown with an off-white underbelly. Norway rats have a dense body, a blunt nose, small ears, and protruding black eyes. Adults grow up to 9½ inches long, and their tail adds another 6 to 8 inches to their total length.
Roof rats are the number one rodent-related call we receive in South Florida. In fact, roof rats comprise approximately 96% of calls we receive for rodent control. It is very common for roof rats to get into attics and homes in the area. We recommend contacting us to schedule a free inspection if you hear noises in the attic or suspect that you may need roof rat removal.
The roof rat has a smaller slimmer build than the Norway rat and has exceptional climbing abilities. Their body is covered in dark, smooth fur, and their scaly, hairless tail is longer than their body and head combined. Including their tail, these rats grow to between 12 and 14 inches.
Mice are small rodents and aren’t as common in our area as rats. From the start of the nose to the tip of their tail, they grow to between 5½ and 7½ inches long. They typically have gray or brown fur with large black eyes. A light layer of fur covers their ears and tail.
Are Rodents Dangerous?
Discovering that rodents are living in or around your home is worrisome for anyone. Rodents are not only annoying pests, but damaging and dangerous as well. Rodents harbor fleas, ticks, and other parasites that spread diseases to people and their pets. As they enter into yards and homes, they introduce parasites that create their own set of problems and worries. When living outside and foraging for food, rodents can’t help but pick up a variety of bacteria, pathogens, and viruses on their bodies and legs.
After finding their way inside your building, they will contaminate food and surfaces with not only bacteria and pathogens, but also saliva and excrement. Rodents spread things like hantavirus, leptospirosis, and salmonellosis.
Rodents are destructive pests. They can use their strong jaws and sharp front incisors to cause damage to structural elements (wire, pipes, cables) and personal property (furniture, cabinets, boxes, food containers). This means rodents can cause electrical fires and also damage and contaminate attic insulation. We have had to replace attic insulation in West Palm Beach and surrounding areas many times as a result of insulation contaminated by roof rats. This means that rodents are not only destructive, they become expensive as the damage they cause has to eventually be fixed.
Why Do I Have A Rodent Problem?
Rodents are most attracted to properties that offer them food. The more sources of food they can find, the more interested they will be in calling your yard or outdoor space home. Open trash cans, pet food, gardens, compost, fruit trees, and outdoor eating areas all attract rodents.
Our region of South Florida allows rodents, especially rats, to thrive. West Palm Beach provides rodents with a dense population of people, buildings, and plenty of vegetation to give them all the food and shelter they need.
The warm weather in Florida allows these pests to be active year-round. If the weather becomes very hot, rodents will move indoors, searching for a cooler environment to nest. Rodents have short gestation periods (18 to 22 days) that allow their populations to explode in short periods.
Where Will I Find Rodents?
In South Florida, rodents live in many places, depending on their species. Norway rats mainly congregate around canals, seaports, and docks. Roof rats are common invaders of orchards and yards with fruit trees. Mice live in and near homes because they have come to rely on people to provide them with access to food and shelter.
If rodents find their way into your house, they will nest in quiet, dark areas. Attics, wall voids, the back of cabinets, and areas behind appliances are ideal hiding spots for rodents. Roof rats tend to invade the upper levels of buildings, while Norway rats stay at ground level.
How Do I Get Rid Of Rodents?
At Native Pest Management, we understand how stressful dealing with rodents can be. Rodents are difficult to get rid of, hide in many spots, and are very damaging and dangerous pests. We offer rodent proofing, trapping, baiting services, and more to protect your family and property from rodents.
If you discover rodents or any other pests in your home or business, contact Native Pest Management. We would be happy to help you rid your home of pests and prevent them from returning. Call today to learn more about our effective rodent control services!
How Can I Prevent Rodents In The Future?
Help stop rodents from finding their way into your West Palm Beach home using the following prevention tips:
- Work on rodent-proofing the outside of your home, sealing any gaps you find. Rats can fit through spaces the diameter of a quarter and mice spaces the size of a dime.
- Trim back tree branches from your home’s roof and overgrown shrubbery from your exterior walls.
- Place metal sheeting around the base of fruit trees to stop roof rats from climbing them to nest and feed on their fruit.
- Limit hiding spots in your home by removing excess clutter and keeping storage areas organized.
- Protect your home from becoming a place where rodents forage for food. Regularly remove the trash, wash dishes, vacuum, and limit eating to the kitchen and dining room.
- Store your pet’s food in metal or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids.
- Outside, store your trash in sealed containers with locking lids. Place trash cans away from the outside of your home. Make sure to empty outdoor trash cans weekly.
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