South Florida is home to some magnificent creatures including dolphins, whales, seals, and sea lions. Unfortunately, South Florida is also home to rodents. Luckily, a few preventative measures can help keep them out of your house.
If you’re a Florida resident, the house mouse, Florida mouse, and Norway rat are three species of rodents most likely to cause you problems.
While house mice are pretty common across the United States, they seem to prefer the city to the countryside and are especially fond of the Sunshine State.
Characteristics: House mice have gray bodies and cream-colored underbellies. They range in size from 2½ to 3¾ inches in length, minus their long, thin tails, which are covered in fine hair. Once the weather gets chilly and the seeds and plants house mice eat die in the fall, these pests begin to invade homes and businesses.
Did you know house mice can fit through a crack or hole as narrow as one-fourth of an inch? Most residential garage doors have enough space for mice to gain entry. They can also get into buildings through holes in gable vent screens and soffit vents, around cables that enter the building, and through turbine and box vents on roofs. House mice love nesting in piles of leaves, bricks, stones, and stacked firewood.
The Florida mouse is, not shockingly, prevalent in Florida, but it can be found as far north as Alaska and far south as South America.
Characteristics: The Florida mouse, also known as the gopher mouse, measures between 73⁄10 and 87⁄10 inches in total, though about 80 percent of that length is its tail. It has a brown-gray body and white belly.
Florida mice prefer upland habitats that have shrubs, patches of bare ground, and dry and sandy soils. While they are ground dwellers, Florida mice can’t be bothered to dig their own holes. Instead, they move into burrows made by gopher tortoises. They’re nocturnal, foraging at night for seeds, insects, acorns, and fungus.
Norway rats can be found across America and are especially common in Florida, where they can be found along canals and coasts. They also go by a few other names, including the sewer rat or the street rat.
Characteristics: These hefty rats can reach up to 9½ inches long. Norway rats have blunt muzzles and bristly brown fur with scattered black spots and a gray or white underside. They have short tails, bald ears, and small ears and eyes. Norway rats are colorblind, and their sight is poor, but their other senses are quite strong.
Norway rats aren’t picky about their habitats. They can be found in open fields, sewers, garbage dumps, woodlands, and basements. The nocturnal rodents spend their nights searching for food, digging burrows, and preparing nests. These Florida pests are looking for food, shelter, warmth, and water.
Use these tips to keep Norway rats out of your home:
- Rats are good climbers, so use a spark arrestor to cover your chimneys.
- Keep pet food in galvanized trash cans with tight-fitting lids.
- Seal cracks or holes larger than one-fourth of an inch. If a quarter can fit into it, so could a rat.
If you’ve discovered you’ve become an unwilling landlord to one of these rodents, remember that handling the infestation on your own can be dangerous. Contact us today to schedule an inspection.