Common Types of Rodents in Tampa
Outside of the manatees and alligators that Tampa is notoriously known for, our state is also home to some lesser-known native species - rodents. These pests can certainly be a nuisance when found inside your home, and getting them out can be a hassle. There are three main types of rodents found near the Tampa Bay area -- roof rats, Norway rats, and house mice. Knowing which kind of rodent has invaded your home is the first step in eliminating them. Let’s talk about how to identify these rodents and the best ways to keep them out of your home!
Roof rats are the most common invader in the area. Their fur can be colored anywhere from deep black to a grizzled gray -- or even tan. They often have lighter colored bellies, and tails that are longer than their body. They weigh between ½ lb to 1 lb and have spindle-shaped droppings up to ½ an inch long. They can often be found in attics, roof spaces, palm trees, and other indoor shrubberies, and can cause quite a bit of destruction from chewing on electrical wires and rafters. Their preferred food is veggies, fruits, and grains.
Norway Rats are larger than roof rats and more likely to be found in coastal areas. They have reddish-brown fur, a heavyset body with a blunt muzzle, and a tail that is shorter than their body. Adults weigh between ¾ lb and 1 lb and have capsule shaped droppings about ¾ of an inch long. Norway rats are known burrowers and like to dig in piles of garbage or underneath concrete slabs. This behavior can cause problems with erosion and foundational stability, and can also block sewer lines. They prefer to eat meat, fish, and grains but can survive just as easily on garbage scraps and small amounts of water.
House mice normally live outdoors, but do occasionally migrate inside to live behind walls or in furniture that can give them security. They are brown to gray in coloration and have long tails roughly the same size as their bodies. They weigh only ½ an ounce and have rod-shaped droppings about ⅛ of an inch long. While they prefer grains, they can survive on a wide variety of food and don’t even need water depending on the moisture content of the rest of their diet.
How to Prevent Rodent Infestations
No matter which kind of rodents you find in your home, getting rid of them should be priority number one. They can not only cause structural damage to your home and damage electrical wiring, but they’re also extremely unsanitary. Rodents often urinate and leave feces wherever they reside, which can quickly contaminate the place your family and pets call home. Here are a few simple steps you can take to help keep your home rodent-free:
Keep your home crumb-free: Most often these creatures come into your home looking for warmth and food so it’s important to make sure you aren't drawing them in with easily accessible food sources. Kitchen crumbs, unsecured trash, pet food, and even salt can be a great meal for a rodent, so make sure to keep food and trash in well-sealed containers. Knowing the diet of whichever kind of rodent is sharing your home can help you target their specific food sources to best tackle the problem.
Seal up potential entry points: Mice and rats can enter your home via holes as small as ¼ of an inch. Gaps under doorways, unscreened windows and roof vents, and openings in siding and crawl spaces are all easy access points for these tiny pests. Patching up holes and installing screens and weather stripping can help make your house more impenetrable -- keeping mice and rats outside where they belong.
Set out deterrents: Mice and rats can survive on a wide variety of food, but there are some food groups that they seem to find repulsive. Mint and bay leaves left near possible entry points will help keep creatures away, as will mothballs. If you do use mothballs, be sure to place them out of reach of children and pets, as they are toxic to not only rodents but larger pets and humans as well. Another great deterrent for a mouse is a natural predator: a cat. Whether indoors or outdoors, a cat will make your home far less appealing to mice and rats and can go a long way in keeping them out of your home and off of your property.
Set traps: Setting traps outside your home is a good way to lure rodents out of your house, and gives you an opportunity to dispose of them or rehome them elsewhere so they won’t be able to come back to visit. Traps should be placed near suspected entries, like unsealed outdoor attic entrances, small holes in siding, or door with gaps greater than ¼ of an inch underneath them.
Call in the experts: Because rodents can cause structural damage to your home and electrical wiring, it’s important to take an infestation seriously and deal with it as quickly as possible. Professionals like Anti-Pesto are best equipped to handle infestations in the safest, most effective manner and can help keep your home rodent free for the long haul.
No matter what species of rodent you may have in your home, the experts at Anti-Pesto can help you tackle the problem fast. We not only get rid of the rodents currently living in your home, but we also remove all traces of these pests including their nests and other contaminated materials.
Written By: Howard Bright