There are several different types of common rodents but generally we only encounter a very small percentage in our Northwest homes. Rodents are problematic inside of any structure. While rodent issues will generally be more pervasive in areas where construction may be older and sanitation may not be ideal, rodents can occupy any building. They will utilize vegetation and trees to gain access to attics and rooftops.
PREVETION AND MAINTENANCE TIPS:
Keep all vegetation away from the structure and put pet food in seal-able containers as well as keeping the exterior envelope of your home in good working condition. This includes but is not limited to, keeping vent screens and covers in good condition, sealing any holes or gaps in the siding or where the roof structure meets the house, and keeping stored items such as fire wood, construction or yard materials, and furniture away from the perimeter of the structure.
Below are the most common species or rodents found in western Washington with brief description for identification and information on habitat:
House mice are much smaller proportionally than rats, particularly in the head and feet, and are generally 1-2 inches in length. Because of their smaller frames, house mice can fit into spaces as small as a dime. House mice will eat just about anything they come across, especially inside of a residential environment.
Deer mice are also quite common in the Pacific Northwest. They may grow to around 6″ in length, and can also access areas roughly the size of a dime because of their smaller frames. They use their sharp teeth to eat just about anything they can find. They can chew through hard shells and will eat anything from vegetation to snails and will also cache their food, often utilizing attic or crawl spaces to do so.
Norway rats are the largest rats that we encounter in the Pacific Northwest, some weighing in over one pound. They will eat just about anything that humans will eat. They will usually make their nests in or near the ground and are frequently found in crawl spaces and are primarily active at night.
Roof rats are less than half the size of the Norway rat, generally weighing about a half a pound. Some of their favorite foods include seeds, nuts, vegetables, fruits, insects, invertebrates, and other inorganic matter like soap and paper. Roof rats are also a nocturnal species and will also nest in higher areas, such as trees or attic spaces.
Some rodents can access the structure with a hole the size of a dime or the size of the average index finger. With the proper conditions rodents will occupy a residence. Recognition of rodent activity is not necessarily a reflection on one’s tidiness or cleanliness; it is just a byproduct of living in the Pacific Northwest and requires expertise and care to manage.
If rodent activity is observed or suspected, it’s best to call a professional pest control operator in your area to identify type of rodent and implement proper removal and prevention of future activity.