Florida Mice, Field Mice & Norway RatsOctober Pest of the Month.
What are mice & what causes them?
A mouse is any number of small rodents that resemble diminutive rats having pointed snouts, smaller ears on a long body generally with slender hairless tails. Since deer mice, field mice, rats and other rodents are low on the food chain these pests reproduce at a rapid rate! They aren't really vicious and rely on their size and speed to survive.
Autumn has arrived and the temperatures are dropping in North Central Florida. The cooler air is encouraging mice to invade your home. Additionally, in the summertime when there are a lot of rainy days it is common for mice to seek shelter inside your home or other buildings. Each year in the United States rodents cause in upwards of $1 billion in damage to homes and buildings.
The tail of a mouse can be just as long as its body. Mice cannot see color and do not like daylight; making them nocturnal creatures. All mice have very good hearing, in fact way better than humans and can hear in the ultrasonic range (not audible to humans). When mice are born they do not have fur and cannot see for a few days. Most mice can jump 18" vertically which is a pretty high jump compared to their size. They are also good swimmers and climbers. This one is gross but true: they use their urine as markers so they know where they have been.
The Florida Mouse is an endangered mammal and is only found in Florida in scrub-brush and sandy beaches. These Florida Mice can be found almost all of the counties we serve (full list below) and is the only mammal limited to Florida. Like most other mice, the Florida Mouse is nocturnal and active all year long.
Florida mice normally build their burrows inside larger burrows of gopher turtles; building a corridor off the main tortoise burrow. Adult female mice usually use two burrows going back and forth between two litters of baby mice. Occasionally two adult females share the same burrow. Most of the time, field mice eat crickets, ticks, fruits, seeds and berries (Info courtesy of wildflorida.com).
Florida mice grow to an average length of 5 - 8 inches and have long tails that can grow up to 5 inches! These pests are considered large for its species although it is rather small. Normally these mice are brown in color with white on their belly and their ears are brown with no fur. Most Florida Mice have an unpleasant smell almost like a skunk. They feed on seeds, plants, insects, nuts and acorns. According to UF, Florida mice are known to breed throughout the year and are most actively breeding during the fall and early winter. Generally most litters have no more than 3 babies and the female only has 2 litters a year.
Photos of Florida Mice:
Florida Mice Habitat:
Field mice are most commonly seen in fields and rural areas and homes. They like moderate temperature and the majority live in rural areas although it is common to find some in cities.
Florida mice can be seen in the following counties that we serve in North Central Florida: Taylor, Madison, Suwannee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Alavhua, Levy and Union Counties.
The field mouse is one of the most common rodents in North Central Florida and is nocturnal. Field mice are cousins of the rat family and they share a few similarities. Field mice are mostly brown and black with some white. They do not have large front teeth and their claws are much smaller than rats. Full grown field mice are between 10 - 20 nails breadth length across including the tail. Normally the tail of a typical field mouse is just as long as the body and has no hair.
The field mouse is very smart and has been proved by researchers that if given the time, think about a strategy before doing something. They are extremely fast for its small size and don't have a great sense of smell. Field mice eat anything they can.
Field mice also breed more often than any other type of mouse. It is typical for a female field mouse to be pregnant at least once a month. When baby field mice are born they are blind, deaf and bald. Within weeks of being born they gain all of their senses, reach maturity and begin reproducing. One female field mouse can produce 40 babies per year.
Photos of Field Mice & House Mice:
Norway rats are most common along the sea coast and canals in Florida. They are mostly reddish-brown and heavy set with a blunt muzzle. Like field mice, their tail is just as long as their body. Adult Norway rats can weigh up to 1 pound.
Norway rats only live for about a year and within 3-5 months they have reached maturity. Female Norway rats can have 8-12 babies per litter and have about 7 litters per year. One female Norway rat can produce 56-87 babies per year.
Photos of Norway Rats:
Norway Rats Habitat:
Norway rats thrive in conditions where trash is not properly stored. Although they prefer to eat fresh meat, fish and grain they can survive on an ounce of garbage per day. They are burrowers and dig under concrete slabs to make a home for themselves and family.
Since most mice and rats are only active at night (nocturnal) and not seen during the day unless there is a bad infestation, it is very important to recognize the signs of rodent activity.
If you have mice in your home, make sure all food is properly stored and sealed; away from where mice can get to it. If you have pets inside your home, make sure you clean their food and water bowls daily. Also make sure to give one of our Pest Specialists a call today at (386) 362-3887 to let them handle all rodent infestations.
Droppings & Urine
The most common signs of a rodent problem are finding its droppings or urine around buildings and furniture structures. According to the University of Florida most rodents have a favorite area to use the bathroom and will void almost anywhere. Fresh droppings are usually black, shiny and sticky and they urinate while running so it is common to see lines or streaks.
Mice droppings and urine can cause allergy and health problems in children and adults. The smallest amount of urine can trigger allergies in children mostly because their immune system is still developing. They spread disease through contaminating food and water with their waste.
Rodents will gnaw holes in walls, posts or anything they can chew on to gain entry into your house and to keep their teeth sharp. Fresh gnaw marks are usually light colored with sharp and splintery edges. Old gnawing is smoother and darker.
Pathways & Rub Marks
Under normal circumstances, rodents use the same path between their shelter and to seek food and water. They normally try to run alongside walls and dark greasy marks can be found. New rub marks are a little lighter and will smudge, older rub marks will scratch off. Most of the time mice travel alongside walls and edges to prevent detection.
Sometimes it can be hard to hear a rodent because they are mostly heard at night or in very quiet areas. Hearing scratching or gnawing noises can be a sign of mice activity.
If you think you have a rodent problem give us a call today at (386) 362-3887 and let one of our pest specialists handle it.
In general mice can be found in almost every state in North American and worldwide. Mice, rats and other rodents are very active this time of year seeking warm shelter from the cold winter.
Mice mostly nest in walls, cupboards, stored boxes or in other warm areas like behind refrigerators or cookers in kitchens.
The best way to treat a Large Patch Grass Fungus problem is by giving our highly trained Lawn Pest Specialists a call. They will come out, assess the problem and will set the appropriate course of action. Call today at (386) 362-3887 for more information and to schedule an appointment.
Since mice, rats and other rodents carry a lot of different diseases such as the bubonic plague, Hantavirus, Typhus and pose other serious health risks it is very important to keep them under control. There are 30 diseases that are known to make humans sick that mice carry according to the CDC medical report. Breathing in the fumes from their droppings can easily affect a child (see above under Symptoms) for more information. Remember, parasites such as ticks and fleas can also get infected by mice and then later infect humans by biting them.
- Rat & Mouse Control : University of Florida Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences
- House Mouse Guide : ePest.com
- House Mouse : Wikipedia
- Field Mouse : Wikipedia
- Norway Rat : U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
- The Florida Mouse : Univesity of Florida Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences
- Florida Mice : Florida Nature.com