When looking at the animal kingdom, rodents are classified by the defining characteristic of a pair of top and bottom front teeth that continuously grow, creating the need for them to gnaw on different items to “file” them down, so to speak. While we think of rats, mice, and squirrels when we hear the word “rodent,” rodents actually account for a whopping 40 percent of all species of mammals. Rodents include the little guys listed above, as well as prairie dogs, chipmunks, beavers, guinea pigs, hamsters, porcupines, gerbils, and capybaras — a rodent that can weigh up to 150 pounds! Hopefully, you didn’t come to Death Row Pest Management for capybara control, as you might need a zookeeper for that! However, when it comes to rat and mouse control in LA, you can count on us to get rid of these pesky pests. Keep reading to learn more about mice, rats, and rodent control!
Rodent Population And Why Mouse And Rat Control Are Essential
In the wild, mice and rats have a host of natural enemies ranging from snakes and hawks to coyotes and owls. This means they are biologically determined to breed quickly and efficiently for the advancement of their species. Unfortunately, though, a brown rat or a house mouse doesn’t care if they are perfectly safe from predators in your home, they will still breed at the same rate as their wild counterparts.
To put into perspective just how quickly rodents can multiply, consider this: the common house mouse can have 10 litters per year, averaging about eight mice per litter, giving you 80 babies in a year from a male and female pair. Let’s say half are male, half are female, and they all survive and mate with one another (for humans, this is the worst case scenario). Around four weeks of age, those mouse pups can start breeding with each other, creating 320 pups between them on the first litter. If those new offspring do the same as their parents, the first litters of those pups can produce 1,280 pups, and so forth — all because a couple of mice sought shelter in your home! Of course, this is an extreme case and it is unlikely that you have a thousand or more rats or mice in your home, but you have to understand that two rodents are never just two rodents.
Do Rats And Mice Spread Diseases?
Rats are known to be a primary cause of the Black Death, a plague that killed between 75 and 200 million people (a third of the then-population of Europe) in the 1300s. Thanks to modern medicine, a modern mouse- or rat-spread plague that wipes out a significant amount of the population is unlikely, but that doesn’t mean cohabitating with these furry critters is a wise idea. Rats, and mice for that matter, still carry and spread diseases. Some of these diseases come from direct contact with the rodent through rodent saliva (bites), feces, or urine. Other diseases are spread indirectly through fleas and ticks that feed on an infected rodent.
Below we have listed some of the most common diseases spread by rats and mice.
- Hantavirus: Hantavirus is a severe respiratory disease that is transmitted when a person breathes in dust contaminated with rodent urine or feces (this isn’t uncommon for people doing some DIY home improvements).
- Plague: Plague can still be transmitted through the bite of a flea that has fed on an infected rat. Plague symptoms include sudden fever, headache, chills, and swollen lymph nodes.
- Rat-Bite Fever: Rat-bite fever can be transmitted through direct contact with a rodent, or through contaminated food or water.
Currently, the CDC lists 35 diseases that mice and rats can spread. While many of these are serious, most healthy individuals can make a full recovery if treatment is sought as soon as symptoms arise. Some of these diseases and infections can be fatal if ignored, so be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible if you have a known rodent infestation and start feeling under the weather.
Preventing Disease Through Rodent Control
The best way to keep you and your family healthy is to control the rodent population in and around the home. Rodents can be mischievous, stealthy, and darn-near invisible. They like to hang out near food sources, and are experts at hiding when they hear footsteps approaching. This means you need to be on the lookout for droppings, chewed wires, and other suspicious findings around the house.
At the first sign of a mouse, rat, or another rodent, be sure you know who to call. As with all pest problems, likely an infestation has been occurring right under your nose without you realizing, and the problem will not take care of itself. For rodent control in Burbank, Ventura, Pasadena, San Fernando Valley, or any area in or near Los Angeles, California, Death Row Pest Management is here.