Northeast Pennsylvania: Facts & Myths About Small Rodents

Rodents. Why did it have to be rodents? One of the most dreaded household pests can inspire woe for anyone who catches a glimpse or hears the unmistakable scratching of a rat, mouse, or mole.

From the many horrible myths floating around about these destructive pests, people have some sketchy rodent control information that makes taking care of the problem more difficult.

Will mice only explore during the night? Would getting a cat work if a rat can match it in size? Can you snag those critters with a hunk of cheese?

Here are some myths and facts about mice and rats that can set the record straight.

Myth #1 – Rats can be a large as a house cat.

Fact – Norway rats can sometimes reach up to 1 pound and measure nearly 8 inches long; they are nowhere near the size of house cats, which are normally around 10-12 pounds.

These “big” rats are more than like confused with another rodent species. Since many rodents use a water source to travel, it’s may be that rats are confused for much bigger animals.

7 Facts & Myths About Small Rodents of Northeast Pennsylvania
Are cats a solution to mice?

Myth #2 – Cats will take care of a mouse problem.

Fact – A cat in a home may take care of your rodent problem, provided they are “mousers.” Not all cats are hunters, and not all hunters will hunt mice. Well-fed cats may not be bothered to hunt any whiskered intruders. Of course, some cats will hunt for fun and thrill, but some cats do not. It’s also rare for a cat to challenge a rat.

Myth #3 – Rats and mice can get through tiny holes because they are boneless.

Fact – Rats and mice have internal skeletons but have very flexible ribs allowing them to squeeze through the tiniest gaps. Rodents have more flexibility and lack a collarbone which makes getting into small places much easier. Quite simply, if they can get their head through it, they can bypass it.

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Myth #4 – Rats and Mice are nocturnal, thus if you see one in daylight, there must be many of them!

Fact – Rats and mice are primarily nocturnal, but they always move about regardless if it is day or night. If you see one, it’s not necessarily a sign of a big infestation – it’s just much easier to see them in the daylight.

Mice will only explore when they feel safe or when they are hungry. Their senses are sharp and always alert for any potential threats. Additionally, they usually have their own routes where they can move around undetected. Also, they only sleep for a short period of time. Better signs of a major infestation include droppings, burrows, or actual property damage.

Myth #5 – The best bait to catch a mouse or rat is cheese.

 Fact – Though cartoon mice going after cheese are plentiful, it’s more likely that mice would enjoy grains, seeds, or fruits. Though a rodent may eat cheese, what they will go after is dependent on the species and how hungry they are. They tend to go after foods higher in fiber or fat. The ideal bait options for catching mice include fruit, grains, and peanut butter.

Myths and Facts about Rats and Rodents
If threatened, rats like this can become aggressive.

Myth #6 – Rats and mice aren’t aggressive creatures; they will not attack you.

Fact – Like any cornered animal, rats and mice will attack when threatened. They will likely go on the offensive if surprised or if they feel trapped. They can easily puncture skin with a bite that could cut nerves, strike bone, and cause infection.

Rats won’t necessarily only attack when cornered – they will even bite if they smell food. While rats don’t necessarily carry black plague, they can transmit some pretty nasty diseases including leptospirosis and rat-bite fever.

Myth #7 – Having rodents means a home is run-down or in poor condition.

Fact – Though rodent control is needed in places with poor sanitation, they can be found just about anywhere. They move along water sources like streams and sewers, and they can invade anywhere they can find access. They require water to survive, like any other creature, and tend to stay near it. What they rely on is an adequate food source which can be just about anything: garbage, pet food, bird seed, or fruit trees.

Concluding Thoughts

The key to proper rodent control is knowing the facts. The key to effective pest control is to be proactive. Take steps to be sure your home is fortified against all manner of creatures and stay informed. The first step toward taking care of your problem is separating myth from fact.

The next step is to get them under control. Contact the pest professionals at The Pest Rangers today for a free consultation.