Fast Facts About Rats & Mice

All you'll need to know about rodents - from biology to behavior and more.

House mice, Norway rats, and roof rats eat the same foods we do, so they're happy to eat ours. Unlike many other rodents that steer clear of people, these three rodent species co-exist with us, partaking of our food, water and shelter. Read more below about these nocturnal creatures that inhabit our daily lives.

Rat and Mouse Behavior and Biology

  • Rats and mice have poor vision but excellent senses of touch, taste, and smell.
  • Rats and mice are nocturnal, so visible activity during the day is a sign of a large infestation.
  • Rats and mice reproduce rapidly - a family of 6 mice can grow to between 50 and 60 in just 3 months.
  • Rats can jump vertically for up to 3.5 feet.
  • Rats have been known to survive a fall from a 5-story building.
  • Rodents (especially roof rats) are amazingly good climbers.
  • Rodent bites can exert a force up to 7000 pounds per square inch.

For additional information on rats and mice, see How To Identify Rodents.

Diseases and Dirt Carried By Rodents

Mice may look cute in the pet store, but when you see one scurrying across your kitchen floor, you have a big problem. Mice and rats can carry disease and they spread filth wherever they go. In the house, they can gnaw through wiring, causing electrical fires.

Economic Impact of Rodents

The economic toll of rodents is in the tens of billions of dollars per year. Their impact can be seen in a number of different ways:

Food contamination - Rodents contaminate 20% of the world's food supply annually, which is why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has to destroy 400,000 tons of food contaminated by rodents each year. Contamination of foods by rodent urine or feces can lead to food poisoning.

Structural damage and fires - Rodents continuously gnaw and chew on virtually everything around them, causing untold damage in our homes, businesses, and farms. An estimated one-fifth of the fires of unknown origin are suspected to be caused by rodents gnawing on electrical wires.

Productivity Losses - Businesses affected by heavy rodent infestations face significant losses. In live animal production facilities, losses due to equipment downtime and reduced health of animals associated with rodents is staggering.

Public Health/Psychological Impact of Rodent

  • There are an estimated 55,000 incidents of rodent bites each year in the U.S., many of them requiring medical attention.
  • There are approximately 5 billion rats worldwide.
  • It is estimated that rats actually outnumber humans in many major cities.

Rodent Control Solutions

Bait Stations - A bait station is not a trap. Mice and rats enter the station, eat the bait, leave, and usually go back to their nests and die within 1 to 2 days. Tomcat® baits can be used on their own or as part of a total rodent control system with mechanical and glue traps. Tomcat® baits are extremely effective in killing both mice and rats. Each bait block in a Tomcat® Mouse Killer Child Resistant, Refillable Station can kill up to 12 mice*, and each bait block in a Tomcat® Rat & Mouse Killer Refillable Bait Station - Advanced Formula can kill up to 3 rats*. For smaller problems, Tomcat also offers disposable rat and mouse bait station options.

Mechanical Traps - Tomcat® mechanical traps for mice and rats provide a quick and effective way to kill rodents. Traps hold the rodent to confirm that the problem has been handled. Tomcat® offers various trap options to meet your need and preferences. If you don't want to see a dead mouse, the Tomcat® Kill & Contain® Mouse Trap provides a no-see, no-touch way to trap and kill mice that also protects fingers and paws from being snapped. The Tomcat® Press 'N Set® Mouse Trap and the Tomcat® Secure Kill® Rat Trap are easy to set and allow for easy, no-touch rodent disposal.

Glue Traps - Glue traps can be used to control mouse and rat issues, and they can also provide a way to uncover or track rodent activity. Since they are pesticide-free and do not snap on hands and paws, they can be placed in a wide variety of locations where rodents frequently travel, like kitchens and hallways. Tomcat® Glue Traps are ready-to-use and provide immediate grip and stretchable hold.

*Based on no-choice laboratory testing

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