Rats and mice are possibly the most successful mammalian species to share living space with humans. Even more than dogs and cats, rodents find a way to make themselves at home with people, invading our food stores, spreading diseases, attracting other pests, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. And one of the biggest reasons they’re so successful in this endeavor is their insanely high birth rate.
Rodent Reproduction: Adding up the Danger
Sexually mature at four weeks of age, capable of carrying half a dozen young per litter, and producing between five and ten litters every year, the common house mouse is a champion at bulking up its numbers. A short estrus cycle and the ability to breed year ’round mean that even a small group of mice can quickly become a horde if given enough food, space, and safety from predators. Safe from owls, bats, hawks, foxes and other animals that rely on them for food, mice that are safely ensconced in your home can quickly create a serious health and safety hazard for you and your family if left untreated.
Longer-lived, larger, and more destructive than their mouse cousins, rats can wreak even more havoc. Like mice, they mature quickly, have multiple litters of up to a dozen pups each year, and have voracious appetites. They also spread a wide range of diseases, and can cause incredible property damage because they are lifelong gnawers whose relentless chewing keeps their ever-growing teeth in check.
Both rats and mice leave droppings everywhere, and will store food that can attract insect pests such as cockroaches. In addition, both species are limited only by available resources, and since they tend to view most foods as easy pickings and quite a few items humans regard as inedible as delicacies, it’s all too easy for a small number of invading rodents to quickly expand exponentially, laying waste to a home or business with costly damage and waste.
Divide and Conquer
Humans have been trying to find a way to keep rats and mice at bay since the first mouse took a nibble off a stray bit of wooly mammoth steak. Our understanding of how to keep rodents away from our homes, food, and families has become more sophisticated as we have developed advances in hygiene, architecture, and agriculture, but rodent infestation remains a serious problem for every community where these hardy little thieves can make a go of it.
The key, really, is to separate rodents from their safety, food sources, and secrecy. As a species, humans have found a variety of ways to deal with the ravages of rodents, including domesticating a few varieties and adding them to the menu, as well as relying on dogs and cats to help fight infestations. Electronic devices, pesticides, and traps round out the usual arsenal, and have proven effective at removing these wily pests from our homes, farms, and businesses. Keeping rodents away from humans in the first place seems to be the strongest tool in humanity’s toolkit, however, which is why it’s so important to remain vigilant and make your home as unattractive to pests as possible. That’s not always possible, of course—rats and mice rarely follow the rules of polite society—and so the struggle to keep these mighty multipliers from adding themselves to our household goes on.
If you’re dealing with a rodent infestation—or just want to avoid one—then you can subtract some stress from your life by reaching out to the friendly experts at American Rat Control. We’ll work with you to identify and eliminate existing pests, target potential risk areas for re-infestation, and draft a plan to help ensure you won’t have to solve some serious mouse multiplication problems in the future.