Rats and Mice

Rats and mice are serious pests to humans and the management options are many.

While the vast majority of pests in urban environments are arthropods, certain mammals have established themselves, over many years, as extremely important pests of humans. Mammals are characterised by being warm-blooded and covered with fur (or hair) and by their habit of suckling their young. Within the large mammal group, rats and mice belong to the group known as rodents (from the Latin rodere, ‘to gnaw’). This name refers to their gnawing habit, which is necessary to control the size of their characteristic chisel-shaped, front incisor teeth.

The 3 most common rodents are:

1. Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus)

2. Roof Rat (Rattus rattus)

3. House Mouse (Mus musculus)

These animals are well adapted to living in very close association with humans, sharing their food and shelter. Throughout history, rats and mice have been responsible for enormous losses of food and, owing to their ability to transmit diseases to humans by a variety of means, enormous losses of human life. Whether it be crops in the field or foods in store, rats still consume or contaminate vast amounts of food, and they still pose a serious threat to health. It is not surprising that many countries have adopted legislation aimed at reducing levels of infestation.

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