Different Types of Rodents

Rodents look cute only in comics and in the illustrations present in children’s textbooks. They are a huge nuisance in real life due to their capability to cause destruction and spread diseases wherever they go. However, mice, rats and squirrels are all categorized as rodents. Read this blog to know more about the different types of rodents:

What is a rodent?

A rodent is a vertebrate animal coming under the rodentia order. These species have shorter limbs, fur and a pair of sharp teeth that do not stop growing.

What are the different types of rodents?

Listed below are the animals that are categorized as rodents.

1. Rats

  • Appearance

Rats are more than 40 cm in size and have small ears and a big head. Their fur is brown, black, white or grey in colour.

  • Behaviour

Rats are social creatures who prefer living in large groups. They are less territorial and less aggressive in nature.

  • Habitats

Rats can occupy different habitats including underground places. They can commonly be found in drainages, attics, crawlspaces, trees, vents, sheds, garages, wood piles and voids in the roof.

  • Diet

Rats are omnivorous creatures. They are scavengers who can eat meat, seeds, and garbage and food waste.

Damage caused by them

Rats carry a host of germs and bacteria that can spread diseases. They pollute food and water with their droppings, urine and fur. These pests are responsible for a lot of structural damage in residential and commercial properties.

2. Mice

  • Appearance

Mice are over 12-20 cm in size. They have a head and face that is small in comparison to rats. Their body is smaller and thinner with pointed ears.

  • Behaviour

Mice are solitary creatures who prefer living in smaller groups. They tend to show aggressive behaviour and also are curious and bolder in nature.

  • Habitat

Mice can be found living in wooded areas, areas with tall grasses and vegetation, barns, lofts, basements, and in close proximity to food and water sources.

  • Diet

They are opportunistic eaters and omnivores as well. They can eat plant material, cereal, pet food, sweets, meats etc.

Damage caused by them

Mice droppings can be the cause of spread of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. They can also be major spreaders of leptospirosis, meningitis and liver damage via their urine.

3. Gophers

  • Appearance

Desert Pocket Gophers are rodents having a long and hairy tail. They have small eyes with sharp clawed forelimbs that help them in digging and burrowing the ground for nesting.

  • Behaviour

Desert gophers are shy and timid creatures. They forage for food, eat, sleep and breed below the ground.

  • Habitat

They prefer staying near water sources like ponds and rivers.

  • Diet

Gophers eat plants, tubers, grasses, bulbs, roots and tubers.

Damage caused by them

The gnawing and chewing activity of these pests can damage irrigation pipes and utility cables.

4. Squirrels

  • Appearance

Squirrels have 4 front teeth that do not stop growing. They are about 14-16 gm and much larger in size than rats. Their tails are thick and bushy. Their nose is larger and thicker and with bulging eyes.

  • Behaviour

They are mainly active during the day and have a sharper and better peripheral vision. They are highly territorial in nature and will defend their habitats fiercely.

  • Habitat

Some squirrel species prefer living in trees and wooded areas while some tend to burrow in the ground and live inside.

  • Diet

Squirrels tend to search nuts, fruits, seeds and flowers for their dietary requirements. They also chew on the twigs, leaves and barks of trees, bushes and plants. These rodents also eat fungi, small insects, eggs, small animals, caterpillars and snakes.

Damage caused by them

Squirrels access and chew openings in roofs and sidings to get into a house. They can also similarly chew through small holes in chimneys and vents to build nests in these places. Squirrels can damage transformers if they come in contact with electrical cables and lines. The yield of a fruit tree or vegetable patch can be quickly destroyed by squirrels, who have ravenous appetites.

The common characteristic that binds all rodents together is their ability to destroy households and spread different diseases. You should consult a reputed pest controller immediately after you notice any signs of these pests in your property. This will protect the health of your household and also prevent any large-scale damage.