The Rodent Family: Friends And Foe

June 19, 2019

When we say rodents, a lot of people think only of rats and mice; after all, these two species are the most common in our neighborhood. For this reason, rodents, in general, have a bad reputation among all of us. But are all rodents actually pests?  

When you look at rodents, they actually look cute. This is why a lot of people keep them as pets. Even Walt Disney Company has a mouse as its face. There are between 2,000 and 3,000 rodents throughout the world. You can find them across all continents except for Antarctica.  

Let us talk about some of the friendly rodents we have around the world.

Rodents As Friends

It is no wonder a lot of people keep rodents as pets. Not only are they cute, but they are highly intelligent too. And unlike dogs, they require minimal care. Some of the rodents that have become pets include mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs.

Hamsters - Hamsters are one of the most common household pets. They are easy to care for, that is why before parents allow their kids to own a dog, they give hamsters first. Their size is about 5 to 7 inches long, they have short tails that are unlike those of mice, and small eyes. They come in different colors: white, black, brown, and grey. Like all rodents, they have large incisors that continue to grow their entire lives. Hamsters have poor eyesight and nearsighted. They are equipped with pouches that enable them to carry food from one place to another. Unlike rats and mice, they are solitary. As to their diet, they are easily sated. Hamster food can easily be bought at pet stores near you. They also need fresh food too.

Gerbils - Gerbils can measure about 4 to 5 inches long, and with tails that are just as long. They are social creatures and enjoy the company of other gerbils. They rarely bite when handled, making them ideal pets for children.  

Guinea pigs - Guinea pigs are rodents and not pigs despite their name. Of all the rodents that are being kept as pets, they are by far the largest. They are highly recommended as pets since they are gentle and can easily be handled. They can live up to ten years. Their diet consists of fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to standard guinea pig food that is bought from the stores.  

Mice and rats -  Mice and rats can be extremely dangerous pests, but a lot of people enjoy having them as pets. They do not bite when handled. Mice and rats belong to the same rodent family. When well taken care of, these rodents can bring plenty of enjoyment to their owners.

What Makes Them Interesting Pets Anyway

There are so many things that can be said about rodents that make them pretty fun to have around. Here are some interesting facts about these creatures.

  1. Rodents chew constantly because they have to. Rodents are equipped with large incisors that never stop growing throughout their lives. This is why they need to find anything that they can chew on.
  2. Mice and rats can live for 20 days without drinking any water. They get their hydration through the food they eat. 
  3. These creatures are highly intelligent. Mice have photographic memories. Once they learn of a new path, they never forget it. They also remember the face of their owners, much like dogs and cats.  
  4. Rats and mice are very emotional and highly social. They can feel loneliness. They also get depressed when they lose a loved one or a mate. They also get depressed when they are caged. When they are happy, they laugh, They are most happy when they are playing with other rats or mice. When they sleep, they sleep curled next to each other. When one of them gets hurt, all the other rats come to their aid.
  5. Rats and mice are capable of reproducing every three weeks. They can also reproduce as early as their fifth month. 
  6. They are very inquisitive. They like to investigate, yet they are also very nervous. They avoid confrontation all the time.  

Rodents As Foes  

Rodents can be enemies too. It is not exactly them biting the hand that feeds them, but close. After all, the reason rats and mice come to our homes uninvited is because we have something that they can eat.  

For one, these rodent pests are nuisance pests. Since they have this need to chew anything all the time, you can sometimes discover your books, papers, clothes, boxes, and cardboard chewed to pieces. It also does not help that a lot of people are fearful of live rats running around the house.  

Rats and mice are disease carriers too, which they then transmit to unsuspecting homeowners. This is why if ever you spot mice or rats around your house, it is best to get rid of them by calling the best pest control management in North Carolina, Go-Forth Pest Control.

Rat-borne Diseases

Rats and mice can spread a lot of diseases. There are many ways these rodents can do this; it can be through direct contact by handling these rodents, through bites, or through their droppings, urine, and saliva. Some of the diseases they spread are the following:

Rat Bite Fever -  This is a disease that inflicts humans after getting bitten by rats infected with the bacteria Streptobacillus moniliformis and Spirillum minus. Fever, headache, vomiting, muscle pains, and joint pains are symptoms. These begin from 3 to 10 days after getting bitten by rats.

Leptospirosis - This disease is bacterial in nature and is caused by the bacteria Leptospira. It can infect both humans and animals. Considered a very dangerous disease, it can lead to kidney damage and liver failure. It can also be fatal. Headache, vomiting, nausea, high fever, jaundice, red eyes, rashes, and abdominal pains are its symptoms.  

The Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) - This is a severe respiratory disease caused by the hantavirus infection. It can also be fatal. This disease is transmitted via rat bites. Aside from being bitten by a rat, humans can become infected through exposure or inhalation of rodent urine, droppings, or saliva. Eating food that is contaminated by rodent droppings, urine, or saliva can also transfer the virus. Fever, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, headache, fatigue, and muscle pains are its symptoms. 

Salmonella - Salmonella contracted by eating food that is contaminated by rat droppings. Fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping are its symptoms. 

How To Get Rid Of These Pests

Prevention will always be better than cure. Here are a few tips to avoid rats from invading your home: 

  1. Always throw away your garbage properly. Doing this eliminates a food source that is important to these pests. Without garbage, they would have a hard time looking for food. Cover your trash with a lid. This will prevent the rats from getting to your trash.
  2. Seal off cracks, crevices, and holes. Mice can squeeze into small holes the size of a nickel. Sealing these off eliminates their entry points.   
  3. Make sure your surroundings are clean and free from filth. Remove clutter. Sweep the floor and wipe off food and drink spills. Good sanitation is always the key.
  4. Rats like high moisture areas too, so you better fix leaky pipes and faucets. Rats like to breed in areas with high moisture.
  5. Store your food in sealed containers so that the mice would not be able to get to them.
  6. Use traps and baits. Snap traps are still the most effective traps against rats. You can use peanut butter the size of a pea as bait. Place snap traps beside walls because rats crawl near one. 

If all else fails, then there is one more step to do: call the pest control experts. Here in North Carolina, the best pest control management happens to be Go-Forth Pest Control.  

Why Go-Forth Pest Control

Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned commercial service solutions provider of modern pest control services and techniques, using the latest and most advanced technology in the business, making our service to you more efficient, safer, and more convenient. We have a team of expert professionals who can provide the best pest control services to residents and business establishments all throughout North and South Carolina.

We bring in a new and fresh approach to the pest control industry, using family-friendly and pet-friendly methods of extermination that caters to your specific needs. Our expert experience in exterminating pests like cockroaches, weevils, mosquitoes, mice, flies, termites, ants, and spiders can really make you say goodbye to these pests in your home. You may check us on Facebook or Google us to see what our satisfied customers have to say about us.

Go-Forth Pest Control has earned the trust of residents and businesses in North Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, just click here or dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.

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