There are three main pest species of rodent in Australia. Most people detest rodents and find the idea of them living and breeding in their premises is sickening. Rodents are carriers of many serious diseases and bacteria. Their habits are destructive, causing damage to food stocks, furniture and timbers and can even trigger electrical fires by gnawing on wires and cables. They are prolific breeders and a few pests left untreated can rapidly become an infestation.
House Mouse (Mus musculus)
Also referred to as the Field Mouse. The House Mouse is small (approx 20g) with large ears, a pointed snout and a tail at least as long as the body. They may be grey to sandy yellow-brown in colour. Indoors they are typically found in wall cavities and roof and sub floor voids but may also be found in cupboards, furniture and stored items. They prefer grain foods, require little water and generally feed at dusk and during the night. They prefer to eat small amounts at frequent intervals. Mice are prolific breeders, reaching maturity in about 40 days and have a lifespan of around 12 months. Females may produce up to 10 litters per year with 5-6 young per litter.
Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus)
Also referred to as the Sewer Rat, Brown Rat and Wharf Rat. A large aggressive rat (approx 450g) considered to be the most detrimental pest rodent. The Norway Rat has a blunt nose, small thick hairy ears and a heavy body. Red brown to grey in colour with a tail which is shorter than the length of the head and body. Indoors they typically nest in wall cavities, roof and sub floor voids or other undisturbed areas. Outside they commonly live in burrows. They prefer fish, chicken and other meats, but will eat all human and animal food stuffs. They have a need for regular access to water. Norway Rats reach maturity in about 4 months and have a lifespan of around 12 months. Females may produce up to 6 litters per year with 8-10 young per litter
Roof Rat (Rattus rattus)
Also referred to as the Ship Rat or Black Rat. A medium sized rat (approx 250g) which commonly infests ships. The Roof Rat has a pointed nose, large ears and a slender body. Black to brown grey in colour with a tail which is longer than the length of the head and body. Indoors they typically nest in wall cavities and roof voids but but may range and feed freely all through the structure. They are particularly agile and excellent climbers so are often found nesting in high places. They prefer fruits, nuts and vegetables and have a reduced need for water. Roof Rats reach maturity in about 4 months and have a lifespan of around 12 months. Females may produce up to 5 litters per year with 6-8 young per litter.
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