Rats and mice are just two of the mammals that belong to the order Rodentia. Over 2200 species of rodents exist with more than 40 percent of all mammal species belonging to the Rodentia order. Australia has over 60 native rodent species and three introduced pest species.
Rodents have successfully populated every continent (except Antarctica) because of their small size, short breeding cycle and ability to consume a variety of foods. They are the second most successful mammal on the planet, coming second only to humans. Rodents consume and destroy their food source during feeding. This can cause devastating damage to a wide range of settings such as domestic households, commercial businesses, farms, manufactures and livestock to name a few. Not only do rodents gnaw through many materials, they can also ruin food supplies by excreting waste on them.
Inspect the premises carefully and look out for signs of damage caused by gnawing or feeding, holes, smears and droppings. Mice tend to feed by nibbling: eating the outside of grains and leaving the core. However, rats will often leave crumbs or smaller pieces of food.
House mice tend to live inside the building and will gnaw holes up to 20 millimetres in diameter in walls, partitions and floors. Holes made by rats will be larger, approximately 80 millimetres in diameter, and may be the entrance to nests. Nests may be found in hidden areas and can be made up of a wide range of materials such as cardboard, paper, straw and rags.
The major types of rodents found in Australia include:
- Norway Rat
- Roof Rat
- House Mice
For more information on termites visit the Victoria Government website rodent fact sheet.