Pest learning center - Rodents

This page focuses on the most common residential rodents: mice and rats.  For squirrels and other rodents, see Wildlife

Common Rodents

House Mouse, Roof Rat, Norway Rat
Residential Rodent Control Tips

Residential Rodent Control Tips

  •  Sweep the floor regularly and remove any potential food sources
  •  Set traps with thin layers of peanut butter on the trigger plate
  •  Look for nesting sites - rodents stay within a small radius of their nest
  •  Hire a local pest control company if needed

House Mouse

General Info:  This rodent breeds rapidly and adapts quickly to changing conditions. They feed on seeds, fruits, insects, dog food, grains, and other human food.

Length:  Body-   2 1/2″ – 3 3/4″

Region Found:   Throughout the United States

Residential Location:   They nest in dark and secluded areas, often build nests in paper products, clutter, insulation, and fabrics. They like to live in and around structures for convenient shelter and access to food.

Random/Interesting Fact:  MIce are color blind and females give birth to an average of six babies up to six times a year.

Identification:  Mice are usually a dusty gray color with a cream colored belly

Roof Rat

AKA: “Black Rat” or “Ship Rat”

General Info: Roof Rats are found mostly in the upper parts of buildings and ships. They are excellent climbers. One female rat can have up to 40 babies in a year.

Length:  Body-  6″ – 8″

Region Found:  In coastal states as well as in the southern parts of the United States.

Residential Location:  They live in colonies above, under, in and around structures.

Random/Interesting Fact:  Roof rats forage for food in groups of 10. They return to the same food source time after time.

Identification: They are brown or black with gray, white, or black undersides.

Norway rat

General Info:  They can cause damage to properties and structure through gnawing. Norway rats have smaller eyes and ears and shorter tails. They build burrows close to one another. Litter sizes vary greatly. They eat almost anything and can grow to scary sizes.  When you read in the news about gigantic rats found near a structure, it’s likely a Norway Rat.

Length:  Body-  7″ – 10″

Region Found:  Throughout most of the United States

Residential Location:   They build burrows close to water and food sources. This could be under or behind appliances, inside walls, or anywhere else.

Random/Interesting Fact:  Norway rats came from overseas to America. Many of these rats came to America through ships from Europe in the 1700s and 1800s.

Identification:   They are brown with scattered black hair, with gray to white undersides.

More Information:
PestMD – DIY House Mice Control
University of Florida – Featured Creatures
Animal Diversity – House Mouse
Biokids – House Mouse
Pest World – House Mouse
Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management – House Mouse
University of California – Roof Rat
Animal Diversity – Root Rat
RatBehavior.org – Roof and Norway Rats
Fairfax County Public Schools – Norway Rat 
Animal Diversity – Norway Rat
Virginia.gov – Norway Rat