Getting Rid of Rodent Pests Safely and Effectively is PermaTreat's Specialty.
Rodentia is an order of mammals also known as rodents, characterised by two continuously growing incisors in the upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing.
Forty percent of mammal species are rodents, and they are found in vast numbers on all continents other than Antarctica. Common rodents include mice, rats, squirrels, gerbils, porcupines, beavers, chipmunks, guinea pigs, and voles. Rodents have sharp incisors that they use to gnaw wood, break into food, and bite predators. Most eat seeds or plants, though some have more varied diets. Some species have historically been pests, eating seeds stored by people and spreading disease.
Rodents have two incisors in the upper as well as in the lower jaw which grow continuously and must be kept worn down by gnawing; this is the origin of the name, from the Latin rodere, to gnaw. These teeth are used for cutting wood, biting through the skin of fruit, or for defense. The teeth have enamel on the outside and exposed dentine on the inside, so they self-sharpen during gnawing. Rodents lack canines, and have a space (diastema) between their incisors and premolars. Nearly all rodents feed on plants, seeds in particular, but there are a few exceptions which eat insects or fish. Some squirrels are known to eat passerine birds like cardinals and blue jays.
In terms of number of species — although not necessarily in terms of number of organisms (population) or biomass — rodents make up the largest order of mammals. There are about 2,277 species of rodents (Wilson and Reeder, 2005), with over 40 percent of mammalian species belonging to the order. Their success is probably due to their small size, short breeding cycle, and ability to gnaw and eat a wide variety of foods.
Rodents are important in many ecosystems because they reproduce rapidly, and can function as food sources for predators, mechanisms for seed dispersal, and as disease vectors. Humans use rodents as a source of fur, as pets, as model organisms in animal testing, for food, and even for detecting landmines.
Health Hazards Associated with Rodents
Rodents can enter a building through almost any opening or crack. It is important to inspect for rodent droppings, especially in undisturbed areas such as pantries, under baseboards and along walls. Rodent droppings most often cause allergic reactions in human beings but can also cause disease, including the potentially deadly Hantavirus. More frequently, though, rodents serve as vectors, carrying bacteria, such as salmonella, on their bodies and contaminating food sources, kitchen surfaces and equipment. A pest control professional can offer the expertise and knowledge of rodent biology to best protect your health and rid your home of a rodent infestation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, rats bite more than 45,000 people each year. Rodent-associated diseases in the U.S. include plague, murine typhus, salmonellosis, rat bite fever, leptospirosis, trichinosis, toxoplasmosis, and hantavirus. The rat population in the U.S. is estimated to be at least one rat for every person.
These safety and health risks are magnified for seniors and the elderly because of their often compromised immune systems and tendency toward infection.
Rats contaminate and destroy enough food worldwide each year to feed 200 million people, according to estimates of the World Health Organization. In the U.S. rats cause between $500 million and $1 billion a year in property and health losses.
Rats can jump three feet straight up, and four feet outwards, from a standing position. They can burrow three feet straight down into the ground; chew through building materials, glass, and cinderblock; swim 1/2 mile in open water and against current in sewer lines; and climb up inside the pipes with diameters between 1 1/2 and 4 inches. A rat's teeth are so strong it can bite through aluminum, lead, and other metals.
A female house mouse gives birth to 6 young about 19 days after mating. She is ready to mate again in two days. She can produce 6 to 10 litters a year. Each of her young is ready to mate in two months. Remarkably, all her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great, great-grandchildren can have offspring in the same year. Two mice starting to breed on New Year's day could theoretically have as many as 31,000 descendents by December 31st!