Rodents can be found all over the world. From the tiniest mouse to the capybara, these creatures have been around for some time, and when they find their way into your home, they can cause a problem.

While you aren’t likely to find a capybara in Northeastern Pa., plenty of different rodents call this area home. Unfortunately, if they decide to share a space with you, some of these furry little creatures can be quite dangerous. If you are curious about which rodents may be scurrying around outside your doors or suspect that one may have made its way inside, here are eight common rodents found in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

One of the most common rodents you may find inside your home

1. House Mice

One of the most common rodents you may find inside your home is the house mouse. They are small, around 2 ½ – 3 ¾ inches long. These little critters nest in dark, secluded areas, favoring paper, insulation, fabric, or just clutter. House mice can often be found hidden away in attics and basements, and they typically stay within 50 feet of their living space.  

These rodents are dusty grey and are omnivores. They eat a little bit of everything, and they are quick. Though tiny, these mice pose some serious health threats. They carry diseases and can contaminate food and surfaces. They can spread bacteria and salmonella.

2. Norway Rat 

Norway rats can get quite large; they average between 7 – 9 ½ inches, which can be a startling discovery. These rodents can be found just about anywhere, but don’t let their size fool you. They can slip into some pretty small spots. They can compress their bodies to slip through cracks and holes to get where they need to go, and if they can’t fit right away, they can chew their way through. Norway rats can chew through thin metals and even soft concrete.

Often brown or grey, these pests can cause serious property damage, among other things. They also carry some nasty diseases, such as jaundice, rat-bite fever, cowpox, trichinosis, and salmonella.

3. Deer Mouse

On the smaller end of the rodent spectrum is the deer mouse. They can be as little as 4 inches and are typically larger than house mice. They also create smaller and fewer litters. You’ll often find deer mice in the country, living in barns, garages, and other rural areas. They are also nocturnal, making them harder to spot.

Though these mice tend to steer clear of humans, they still carry their dangers. Deer mice are considered a medical concern as they can carry Hantavirus, Lyme disease, and ehrlichiosis.

4. Chipmunks

These tiny common rodents can often be seen scurrying about in search of nuts, seeds, and fruit during non-winter months. They also tend to hoard food. Chipmunks are little omnivores, and they live in burrows, nesting away through the cold season. These rodents are found near forests, woodland, brushes, or other areas teeming with vegetation. 

Chipmunks don’t typically interact with humans and actively avoid contact. These cute little creatures can become a problem if they nest in the wrong place. They can cause serious damage if they build burrows under your house or porch.

5. Gray Squirrels

Squirrels are quite common, not only in Northeastern Pennsylvania but everywhere. They are on nearly every continent, except Australia and Antarctica. As the name implies, tree squirrels make their home in trees, and they are omnivores, typically eating nuts, seeds, fruits, eggs, and insects. They also come in various colors other than grey, including black, white, brown, and white.

While squirrels steer clear of humans, they can get quite daring and often sneak up to a bird feeder. They can be quite a nuisance and often find themselves trapped where they don’t want to be, like inside your home. Just be sure to check your home for possible squirrel shelter spots and keep them from nesting where they shouldn’t.

6. Voles

Voles, or field mice, often get mistaken for their mole cousins. However, voles are much more of an issue. These mice are vegetarians and are active all-year-round. These little creatures burrow beneath the ground and can cause a lot of damage to your flower beds and trees. At just 7.6mm – 22.9 cm, these critters can be hard to spot.

However, they have some big litters, 5-10 per year of about 3-6 young, so they can quickly overrun your yard fast. Voles tend to like dense areas of vegetation and weeds. They also love to sneak up to birdfeeders. 

7. Groundhog

Just about everyone in Pennsylvania is familiar with Punxsutawney Phil. This groundhog vigilantly predicts whether winter will hit us for six more weeks or we will be blessed with an early spring. He’s not the only one, and groundhogs, or woodchucks, can be a little bit of a nuisance if found in your yard.

Sitting large between 17.75 – 24 inches, these creatures live in burrows. While they are solitary creatures, they can cause some serious damage with their burrows. They tend to gnaw on wires, create unwanted holes, and destroy gardens. However, they tend to steer clear of humans.

they can cause some serious damage with their burrows

8. Porcupines 

Finally, we’ve come to one of the most dangerous rodents on the list. Porcupines are not typically vicious creatures, but they can be quite harmful if provoked. These larger rodents tend to steer clear of humans living in wooded areas. However, as their homes shrink, they have been popping up more and more.

While porcupines are very docile creatures, if you get too close, their quills are incredibly sharp. On top of a spikey defense, these quills are barbed and covered with an oily substance that can cause burning, itching, and possibly disease.

Concluding Thoughts

Whether they like to hide away in trees or dig underground, we live in an area ripe with rodents. The best way to protect yourself from them is by knowing what to look for. While not all these common rodents pose a direct threat, they can be troublesome should they find their way onto your property. Of course, you can always defer to a pest control expert if you suspect you have a rodent issue. Protect your home and stay rodent-free.



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