Rats and mice are commensal pests that have been well-adapted to live inside, alongside humans for centuries. They are notoriously responsible for the spread of many diseases and contaminate more food than they eat.
Rats and mice have also been known to cause house fires after chewing through electrical cables.
Once they have entered your home or business, rats and mice can populate extremely fast and in a short space of time you could have an infestation. Canberra Pest Control have over 45 years’ experience in dealing with pests and will eliminate rats and mice from your home or business, guaranteed.
It has a coarse brown or dark grey upper coat, with a brown to light grey underside.
The brown rat has short ears, small eyes and a slanted, blunt snout. It is robust with a thick tail that is usually shorter than the body. Adults have an average body length of 20 to 25 centimetres and weigh an average of 250-350 g.
The brown rat prefers wet areas like creek banks, sewers and around ports, but can also be found around farm buildings or in low, damp areas in and around the home. It builds nests from shredded soft materials like grass, paper and insulation. Unlike the black rat, the brown rat won’t often be found in roofs as it is not a strong climber. Away from human habitation, many brown rat colonies live in burrows underground.
Female brown rats will have 3-6 litters per year, producing around 7-8 pups (young rats) per litter. The gestation period only takes 3 weeks and once born, it takes just 10-12 weeks for the pups to reach sexual maturity. The average lifespan of a brown rat is 2 years.
It has a sleek black to light brown upper coat, with a pale grey to white underside.
The black rat has large ears, big eyes and a pointed snout. It is slender with a long, thin tail that is usually longer than the body. Adults have an average body length of 16 to 24 centimetres and weigh an average of 150-200 g.
As its alias suggests, the black rat is a good climber and is often found in the roofs of residential and commercial buildings, where it constructs nests of shredded soft materials like grass, paper and insulation. It is widespread across Australia and lives in both agricultural and urban areas, as well as in bushland.
Female black rats will have between 3-6 litters per year, producing 5-10 pups (young rats) per litter. The gestation period only takes 3 weeks and once born, it takes around 12-16 weeks for the pups to reach sexual maturity. The average lifespan of a black rat is 12 months.
It has a short light to dark brown upper coat, with virtually hairless feet, ears and tail.
The house mouse has relatively large round ears, big eyes and a pointed snout. It is small and stout with an average tail length of 5-10 centimetres. Adults have an average body length of 7 to 10 centimetres and weigh an average of 10-30 g.
The house mouse is a wild animal but is mostly found inhabiting in and around commercial, agricultural and residential buildings where humans dwell. They are naturally ground dwelling burrowers but will often climb and live in most dark, hidden areas of the house. Like rats, they make their nests from soft materials like paper, grass or insulation.
House mice are prolific breeders. Female house mice will have between 7-8 litters per year, producing 4-16 pups (young mice) per litter. The gestation period only takes 3 weeks and once born, it takes around 8-12 weeks for the pups to reach sexual maturity. The average lifespan for a house mouse is 12-18 months.
It has sandy brown fur which becomes more yellowish on its chest and abdomen.
Adults have an average body length of 8 to 10 centimetres, with a long tail measuring 7 to 9 centimetres and larger ears than a house mouse. The Field mouse has upper front teeth with a smooth inner surface, which differ from those of the house mouse.
The field mouse feeds on grains and is mostly found within commercial, agricultural and residential buildings where humans dwell. They are naturally ground dwelling burrowers but will often climb and live in most dark, hidden areas of the house. Like rats, they make their nests from soft materials like paper, grass or insulation.
The breeding season is from around October to April and afterwards, each female will produce around 5 young. The average lifespan for a field mouse is just 2-3 months.
Rats and mice are nocturnal and attracted to dark, quiet residential or commercial environments where they can easily reach food sources. Depending on the species, they will often make their nests in roof spaces, walls, kitchens & laundries, or storage places like sheds and warehouses. If you have a basement, shed, accessible roof space or attic, you should check them regularly for these signs:
Rats can produce up to 40 droppings each per night, which are often found concentrated in specific locations. Rat droppings are long, dark and cylindrical and can resemble a large brown grain of rice. Mice can produce even more droppings; from 50-80 per night and scattered randomly. They are dark, cylindrical and smaller than rat droppings.
Rats and mice shred soft materials like paper, fabrics, grass and insulation to make their nests. Look for piles of these materials in hidden places like behind big appliances, in roof spaces, under the house or in the back of cupboards. Nests will often contain rat or mouse pups.
The unusual scratching noises heard at night can be rodents scuttling about the house, or the clicking of their sharp front teeth as they gnaw through furnishings, building materials and electrical wires. If there is a rat or mouse infestation, often squeaks can be heard at night when the rodents are most active.
Rats and mice can cause serious damage to your home or business by gnawing through organic matter like wooden beams in the roof or even electrical cables. They will almost anything edible that is left out, including pet food and can even chew holes in your pantry to eat and contaminate your food.
Rats and mice will leave footprints and track marks from their tails in dusty environments. To test for an active infestation, sprinkle flour or talc on the area and check for fresh footprints in the morning. Due to their poor eyesight, rats and mice often use the same routes around walls every night. You might find dark, greasy smears around holes or corners where their dirty fur has constantly rubbed against it.
Rodent urine can give off a distinctive ammonia smell and often the stronger the smell, the larger the infestation. This smell can linger for a while even after the infestation has been removed.
Usually, rats and mice are nocturnal and will only venture out into plain sight at night time. If you spot a rat or mouse during daytime hours, this can be a sign of a heavy infestation.
Here are some handy tips to help reclaim your home and keep rats and mice out for good.
Regularly clean under and behind your kitchen appliances for crumbs and anything else that might be considered a food source. Keep inside and outside rubbish bin lids closed and empty them regularly.
Don’t leave food on the bench and clean pet bowls regularly. In the pantry, keep food stored in glass or metal containers as rodents can chew through plastic.
By removing clutter around the house and cleaning up the plant debris from your garden, you will limit the amount of hiding spaces for rats and mice to live.
Use a sealant like caulk to seal up cracks and crevices around windows, skirting boards, floor boards, electrical outlets and pipes. Eliminate other entry points by replacing torn window and door screens and fitting brush strips to the bottom of doors with gaps underneath.
Trim back trees and plants growing near your garden to reduce the risk of potential nesting sites. High overgrown branches can make it easy for rats to climb onto and into your roof.
Pets, cats especially, will enjoy chasing and hunting down pests like rats and mice. They will also do a good job of deterring more rodents from the area.
In most cases of rat & mouse infestation, we will use a block product approved for the treatment of rodents as per label instructions. These blocks will be placed strategically in both roof voids and under house areas if applicable. Click here to find out more about what’s involved in rodent pest control.
It’s rare for mice to bite unless food sources are scarce, but rat bites are more common and they will also bite when threatened.
Yes, they can. Mouse urine can carry germs which has been known to cause illness and allergies. In addition, they also spread disease by carrying fleas and ticks. Rats can also carry fleas and ticks and were notoriously responsible for the spread of the bubonic plague and the death of over 25 million people back in the 14th Century. Rats can spread several diseases and viruses by biting, scratching and contamination. These include hantavirus, leptospirosis, rat-bite fever and salmonellosis.
Refer to our rodent identification guide to find out which species of rat or mouse you have a problem with. In general, rats are much larger and darker than mice.
Rats and mice are well known for being prolific breeders, so the odd rodent can very quickly turn into an infestation. In addition, if you have a basement, shed, accessible roof space or attic, you should check them regularly for signs of an infestation.
There are many things you can do yourself to discourage a rodent infestation around your home. These include simple habits like cleaning surfaces and removing rubbish. For more information, read how to prevent a rodent infestation.
The simple answer is yes. When we use pesticides or baits, we select formulations with the lowest toxicity available & apply these products where pests breed and live, not where you can come into contact with them. If the infested areas are accessible to children or pets, or in commercial situations, we will use lockable rat or mouse boxes to ensure safety and sanitation.
Yes, however with Rodent Bait, if there is a chance that your pet may access it, we will be unable to bait in that area. In these situations we may be able to use lockable rat or mouse boxes to ensure your pet cannot access the bait. Locked boxes come at an extra cost, but they are well worth it and are yours to keep and can be re-used.