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Rodents make up the most numerous group of mammals, with 2277 species, accounting for 41% of the known mammals. They are a very diverse group in both size and habitat, ranging from the South American capybara weighing up to 145lbs, to the Baluchistan pygmy jerboa, the female adults of which weigh less than 0.14oz.
Rodents are found on every continent except Antarctica. They live in a wide range of different habitats from snow-covered tundra to hot deserts. Some species of rodent are also the common invaders of the human environment:
There are over 200 species of rodent in North America, over 70 species in Malaysia and India, but just 10 native species in the British Isles.
The distinguishing feature of rodents is a pair of continuously growing, incisor teeth in their upper and lower jaw. These teeth grow throughout the life of the rodent so it must continuously wear them down to prevent them becoming too long.
Rodents are known to be the following, depending on their species:
They use a variety of different methods of locomotion including quadrupedal walking, running, climbing, bipedal hopping, swimming and gliding. Some are nocturnal and some are diurnal.
Rodents tend to be social animals, living in small to very large colonies. They also have the ability to breed rapidly in favorable conditions, which is one of the reasons why they are such a concern when you have an infestation in your home or business.
The majority of rodents are herbivores, feeding on seeds, nuts, roots, tubers, stems, leaves, flowers and fruit. Some are opportunistic omnivores, eating meat such as insects and a small number are carnivores.
Rodents are not just pests, they have been used throughout history for food, fur, and more recently as pets and laboratory animals. Guinea pigs were a major meat source for the Incas, while dormice were a delicacy of the Romans, who kept them in special pots and enclosures. Many cultures around the world still eat wild rodents because they are readily available sources of meat.
There are a wide range of different types of rodents are kept as pets by humans, they usually tend to be small rodents, but can grow quite large depending on the level of food they are provided with.
Rodents used as pets include:
One of the main problems with a rodent infestation is the damages they cause. Rodents are known for being curious creatures and will often explore new areas in the search of food.
Rodents cause immense economic losses worldwide by:
There are three rodent species which are responsible for most pest problems in the human environment worldwide: house mouse, brown rat and black rat.
Originally native to restricted geographical areas, they have adapted well to the human environment and been unintentionally introduced around the world by human travel and trade over thousands of years. They have different physical characteristics, feeding habits and behaviours which are used to identify them and their presence.
Compared to other pests, it is not difficult to identify if you have a rodent problem. Rodents leave tell-tale signs of their presence.
There are many reasons for businesses, organizations and homeowners to control rodents:
There is a range of products for the homeowner to deal with small infestations of rats and mice. These include traps, bait boxes and poisons. You can purchase these DIY rodent control products from supermarkets, garden centres, hardware stores and online.
The best way to prevent rats, mice and other rodents from invading your property is to deny them access to food, water and shelter. Here are some tips for preventing rat and mouse infestations.
The best way to overcome a rodent problem is to contact a pest control professional. Although some DIY rodent control techniques do work, they are not a guaranteed to work. Rodents are quite determined creatures and will almost always find a way into your home and or workplace.
Ehrlich has expertise in providing professional services to specific business sectors and the homeowner.