Updated: Dec 7, 2022
If you’re dealing with an infestation, you may want to learn how to do some rodent identification. Trapping and controlling different critters requires a slightly different approach, so it’s important to know what animal has invaded your space.
In this post, we’ll explain what animals count as rodents, how to identify the different ones, and even provide some tips on how to deal with an infestation.
What Is a Rodent?
Aside from insects like ants and cockroaches, rodents are the most common pest animals. This isn’t particularly surprising when you learn that over 40% of the world’s mammals belong to the Rodentia order.
They’re known for their ever-growing incisors, which is why we associate them with having large front teeth. This is also why they always chew on things – it’s the only way to keep their teeth from getting too long.
While there are 1500 rodent species out there in the world, only a few of them are common pests in the US.
What Types of Rodents Infest Homes?
- Mice: Mice are the most common pest rodents. They’re tiny, which is why they find their way into houses so easily, and fast to reproduce, which is why they can become a problem so quickly.
- Rats: Rats are a little larger than mice, but they’re also smarter. They’re also very common, with Roof rats in particular often infesting attics. Check out our post on how to tell the difference between rats and mice for more information.
- Squirrels: Squirrels often infest roofs or attics. They can cause a lot of damage to wood and wiring because of their chewing habits, and can also be an issue in your yard.
- Moles: Moles rarely infest homes, but they can still be problematic. Because they burrow, the tunnels they create can impact the structure under your yard, causing all kinds of garden trouble.
Raccoons and possums are also common infesting creatures, but they’re not rodents. Raccoons belong to the order Carnivora while possums are marsupials of the order didelphimorphia.
How to Identify Rodents
Do you think you have an infestation, but not sure of which rodent? Here are the key factors for identifying what animal you’re dealing with.
Rodent Dropping Identification
The presence of droppings and their size is going to be the biggest hint that you have a rodent infestation in the first place.
They’ll also help you identify the right rodent and the location of nests. Smaller, rice grain-like droppings are usually a sign of mice while rat droppings are slightly larger with blunt ends.
With larger rodents that hide in attics, you’ll probably also have an easy time smelling the infestation, since odors can emanate through your top floor.
Listening to noises will also help, especially if you’re dealing with an attic infestation. Small, scratchy sounds are often a sign of mice or rats, while larger movement sounds and slightly louder scratching can be a sign of squirrels or raccoons.
Almost all rodents leave behind a little bit of damage as a sign they’ve been around. Chew marks are especially common because of rodents’ need to keep their teeth filed down.
Tiny chew marks on wood or in an attempt to access food can signify mice, while a very slightly larger size may signal a rat. Other things you can look for are scratching, chewed wires, damage to the roof, and damage to your garden.
Basic Principles of Rodent Control
Rodent control comes down to a few key principles. In addition to identifying the pest that’s taken over your home, it’s important to also identify and then deal with the following factors.
- Entry points: You’ll want to know how they got in, and then block their entryways (while making sure not to trap them inside a wall or crevice).
- Food & water: What are they eating? Make sure to clear away and lock up their sources of food and water, whether that’s the trash, your pantry, or crumbs on the floor.
- Trapping: Sometimes, cleaning up and sealing entry points is enough to drive rodents away. If it doesn’t work, you may need to buy some traps, assuming these are rodents you can deal with safely by yourself.
This is just a quick summary, though! There’s a lot more that goes into it, and you have to tailor your approach based on the rodents.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider calling a professional. Certain aspects, like rodent identification, trapping, and sealing entry points correctly, can take some expertise. When you call a professional, you’ll have peace of mind knowing the task was done correctly.
At Green Rodent Restoration, we pride ourselves on dealing with your infestation from beginning to end. Our process involves rodent control, restoration, and prevention, to fix the problems the rodents caused and prevent their return. You can always get in touch with us for a free quote!