Maine's Types Of Rodents

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What are rodents?

When you think about rodents, typically mice and rats come to mind and while they are in fact rodents, they are not the only critters that fall into this category. Merriam Webster defines rodents as any of an order (Rodentia) of relatively small gnawing mammals (such as mouse, squirrel, or beaver) that have in both jaws a single pair of incisors with a chisel-shaped edge. While there are over 2,000 species in this particular order, for brevity’s sake and for relevance to our readers, we’re going to focus on the two most common types of home-infesting rodents in Maine. 

 

house mouse on a Maine homes kitchen table

House Mice

The common house mouse in Maine ranges in size from 5 ½ to 7 inches in length, that’s including its hairless tail. Other distinguishing characteristics of house mice in Maine include:

  • Large, rounded ears
  • Pointed nose
  • Tiny, dark eyes
  • Fur that is typically light gray or brown in color

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norway rat infesting a maine home

Norway Rats

Also known as the brown rat or sewer rat, from the tip of its nose to the end of its long bald tail, the Norway rat is approximately 13 to 18 inches long.

Covered in brownish or grayish fur, this type of rat is significantly larger and heavier than house mice and have blunt noses and small ears.

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What diseases do mice and rats in Maine carry?

There are many diseases directly transmitted by both mice and rats including salmonellosis, leptospirosis, dysentery, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis. In Maine, Hantaviruses are another concern however neither the common house mouse or Norway rats carry this group of viruses. Deer mice and white-footed mice, which are native to Maine, are capable of spreading Hantavirus. 

 

Other dangers associated with mice and rats?

In addition to being disease spreaders, mice and rats often introduce ticks, fleas, and other parasites which have the potential to be hazardous to the health of people and pets.

What’s more, both mice and rats are highly destructive pests capable of inflicting significant damage to building materials and belongings; rodents are also linked to house fires due to their incessant chewing.

 

Four step guide to protecting your home & family from rodents

Step I: Take away their food (both inside your home and out)

Like us, rodents must have food to survive. While we may be more selective in what we consume, mice and rats will eat just about anything they can find. 

Inside food sources

  • Food scraps from the garbage 
  • Pet food 
  • Cereals and other grains
  • Peanut butter
  • Chocolate and other sweets
  • Outdoor food sources

  • Pet food
  • Bird food
  • Compost piles
  • Unsecured trash cans
  • Dog poop
  • Fruit that has fallen off trees
  • Berries  

Because their diets are so broad and indiscriminate, it is important to eliminate potential food sources in and around your home. 

Step II: Exterminate existing mice and rat populations

If mice and rats are already active inside your structure, it is imperative that they be removed. This is where many homeowners fail. You see, they’ll run out to the store to purchase traps, bring them back and set them up everywhere they believe rodents are or could be. The thing is, we often don’t give rodents enough credit. They are suspicious by nature and will take their time approaching a situation they are uncertain of. If a trap filled with peanut butter is all of a sudden in their proximity, that does not mean they will make a beeline for it. DIY rodent traps also fail when they are placed improperly. Mice and rats typically don’t travel in open areas or across wide expanse of flooring. Instead, they keep to the sides of rooms and travel along walls to maintain anonymity. Of course, there are other rodent control products on the store shelves or available on Amazon, such as baits, feed bars, and drop in the bucket multiple catch animal traps (yes, that’s a thing) but they also have their drawbacks as you can imagine. 

The best way to get exterminate an existing rodent problem in your home is to contact a local pest control company that specializes in rodent control. 

Step III: Make your yard and property less appealing to rodents

As mentioned above, rodents are voracious and indiscriminate eaters so anything in your yard that could be food for these hungry rodents must go. Besides food, rodents also infest properties that have ample hiding spots. Here are some common places to find rodents:

  • Woodpiles
  • Rock walls
  • Under shrubs
  • In stumps and tree cavities
  • In or under vegetation
  • In abandoned nests
  • Inside cars and yard equipment

In order to make your grounds less appealing to both mice and rats, we highly recommend removing food sources and eliminating potential hiding spots. Obviously, you’re not going to cut down every tree that has a hole in it, stop gardening, or disassemble a rock wall but you can make smaller, common-sense changes, such as:

  • Harvesting gardens and fruit trees regularly
  • Removing old tires
  • Grinding down stumps
  • Picking up brush piles
  • Storing trash in cans that have tight-fitting lids and that are made of a material that can withstand rodent teeth
  • Investing in rodent-proof compost bins 

Step IV: Keep mice and rats out of your home by pest-proofing

Rodents are opportunistic and will slip through any hole that will accommodate their girth. Mice, for example, can fit through holes that are approximately quarter of an inch or larger and rats, about three-quarters of an inch. In order to keep them out, you should seal any opening on the exterior of your structure that is ¼ of an inch or greater. When we say any opening, we mean ANY opening from the foundation up to the chimney. Here are a few rodent-proofing tips to get you going:

  • Caulk holes around pipes and utility lines
  • Install a chimney cap
  • Use both steel wool and caulking to plug up cracks and gaps 
  • Install weather stripping under garage doors 

 

Pine State Offers Rodent Control Services In Maine

For effective rodent control, contact Pine State Pest Solutions. Serving Portland, Auburn, and Brunswick as well as communities throughout our multi-county service area, our locally owned and operated pest control company offers comprehensive solutions that eradicate existing rodent activity and that prevents new infestations of mice and/or rats. What’s more, for homeowners who find themselves battling more than rodents, Pine State offers year-round home pest control plans that target both rodents and common house-infesting bugs including but not limited to ants, spiders, and roaches. 

 

View Our Home Pest Control Plans & Pricing

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