Legend:

Good
Bad

Get to know the House Mouse

(Mus musculus)

house mouse2.2

Appearance

  •  The house mouse is light brown to dark grey in colour, with a light cream belly.
  • The length of an adult house mouse is around 75mm and can weigh up to 30gms.
  • The mice tail are almost hairless and are a long as their bodies.
  • The house mouse has a pair of distinctive chisel shaped incisors (teeth) which continuously grow and the length is controlled by gnawing (chewing).
  • The house mouse has a small head with bulging eyes.
  • The house mouse has rounded ears.

Life cycle

  • The house mouse can start breeding at 6-10 weeks old and produce between 1-12 litters per year. There can be between 5-10 offspring per litter, this depends on environmental conditions.
  • The gestation (pregnancy) period is 19-21 days.
  • House mice are born blind and hairless.
  • The house mouse has a life span of 1-2 years.

Habitat

  • The house mouse lives mainly in urban areas, being closely associated with humans, making nests in houses and buildings.
  • The house mouse can also be found in agricultural areas (summer cropping and cereal areas) and in bushland.
  • Mice are more nocturnal (active at night) but can be seen during the day.
  • Mice are omnivores (meat & plant) and can eat between 3-5gms daily, diet includes meat, peanut butter, vegetable oil, rolled oats, seeds and molasses (syrup).
  • In the field, mice will thrive on introduced cereal grains and consume native grass seeds.
  • The house mouse homing range is limited to 5sqm in buildings and houses and even less in a crop situation/field.

Bad – The house mouse is a serious invasive pest and can breed to plague proportions. The house mouse invades households where they consume food and spoil food sources, chew insulation, vehicles parts, electrical wiring and infrastructure. The house mouse causes serious damage to the agriculture/horticulture industry and native plants. Crops suffer damage prior to seedling emergence, this is when the grain or seed begins to mature.  In cereal crops such as wheat, mice chew the growing nodes (buds) of the plant and can stop the development of the head or cause the stem to collapse.

Danger to humans and first aid

In Australia, mice carry a variety of infectious diseases which can be transmitted to humans and other livestock.

Mice can transmit salmonella to one another, to humans and to domestic animals; encephalomyocarditis virus to pigs; fungal skin diseases (ringworms) to cats and humans; leptospirosis to humans and domestic pigs; and Parasitic infections – Fleas; mites; tapeworms; nematodes, Physaloptera spp.

Control

  • Sanitation and reducing the food and shelter availability for mice.
  • Rodent proofing your home, e.g. sealing up holes or entrance points where mice can enter the building. Mice can jump up to 300mm, jump down around 2.5 metres and squeeze through openings as small as 8mm.

Trapping

  • The use of mouse traps has been the most common control method, there is a wide range of traps available on the market.

Chemical Method

  • There is a wide range of chemical baiting products available on the market. With both single and multiple anticoagulant rodenticides, see warning below.

Warning: Rodenticides are potentially dangerous to humans, domestic animals and wildlife if misused. Store and use them where children are least likely to find them. Read labels carefully and use only as directed. The use of chemical products not registered for the control of mice is illegal and may have serious consequences for quality assurance in the grains industry as well as causing off target damage.

Predators

Predators have a role in controlling the numbers of mice in most years, but are unlikely to have a significant impact during a mouse plague. In South-eastern Australia, the main predators of mice are hawks, kookaburras, foxes, owls, snakes and feral cats.

To seek professional advice or services, please see our “ Pest Control Companies” section on the website.

Get to know the Black Rat/Roof Rat

(Rattus rattus)

Rat

Appearance

  • The colour of the Black Rat/Roof Rat is dark grey to black or a light brown and a cream or white underneath. Their coat is smooth and sleek.
  • The length of an adult rat is 165-205 mm, Tail length is around185-255 mm and they weigh around 95-340gms.
  • The rats front teeth helps distinguish them from similarly sized carnivorous marsupials, a pair of distinctive chisel shaped incisors (teeth) which continuously grow, the length is controlled by gnawing (chewing).
  • The adult rat has a long pointed head. Their heads can be more rounded in juvenile.
  • The rat has large thin ears, around 20mm.

Life cycle

  • The rat can start breeding at 3-4 months old and produce between 4-5 litters per year. There can be between 6-8 offspring per litter, this depends on environmental conditions.
  • The gestation (pregnancy) period is 22 days.
  • The rat has a life span of around 2 years.

Habitat

  • The rat lives mainly in urban areas, being closely associated with humans, making nests in houses and buildings.
  • Rats are more nocturnal (active at night) but can be seen during the day.
  • Rats are omnivores (meat & plant) and can eat between 15-22gms daily, diet includes rolled oats, seeds, fruit products, peanut butter, meat, peanut butter, vegetable oil, and molasses (syrup).
  • The rats homing range is around 40-50 metres.

Bad: Rats have the potential to breed quickly and infest crops and food storages, where they cause serious economic damage. This is a major international problem and represents one of the most significant causes of lost or spoilt food supply worldwide.

The rat can gnaw insulation, vehicles parts, electrical wiring and infrastructure. Rats are rodents, and all rodents gnaw. With their teeth continually growing, just as you clip your fingernails, a Rat gnaws in order to keep its teeth in check. They like to gnaw on a variety of surfaces, but they really seem to like electrical wires which is a problem. (Reference NSW DPI)

Rats in the garden

Garden Rats are very common especially if an adjoining property has birds, chickens, bird-feeders, bird-baths, rabbits or any other animals that live outdoors and feed on cereals, which Rats love. Another food source is fallen fruit or dog and cat food that has been left out. Compost bins and poor rubbish storage are another draw to your property, so it pays to get these things sorted fast. (Reference NSW DPI)

Danger to humans and first aid

Around the world, rats are known to spread over 35 diseases that can infect both people and pets, including:

  • Plague,
  • Salmonellosis,
  • Leptospirosis, and
  • Tularemia.

Control

  • Sanitation and reducing the food and shelter availability for rats.
  • Rodent proofing your home, e.g. sealing up holes or entrance points where rats can enter the building. Rats can jump up to 1metre, jump down around 12metres and squeeze through openings as small as 2cm.

Trapping

  • The use of mouse/rat traps has been the most common control method, there is a wide range of traps available on the market.

Chemical Method

  • There is a wide range of chemical baiting products available on the market. With both single and multiple anticoagulant rodenticides, see warning below.

Warning: Rodenticides are potentially dangerous to humans, domestic animals and wildlife if misused. Store and use them where children are least likely to find them. Read labels carefully and use only as directed. The use of chemical products not registered for the control of mice is illegal and may have serious consequences for quality assurance in the grains industry as well as causing off target damage.

To seek professional advice or services, please see our “ Pest Control Companies” section on the website.