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Rats and mice attack our food in the farm fields, orchards, and livestock facilities. And what the rats and mice don’t eat, they spoil by contaminating it with their urine, feces, or fur. The loss of food worldwide to rodents is staggering. Experts estimate that rats and mice destroy enough food each year to feed 200 million people.
In buildings, rodents damage doors, floors, ceilings and walls as a result of their burrowing and gnawing activity. They also regularly gnaw on various utility pipes and electrical wiring.
Rats, like house mice, are active mostly at night. They have poor eyesight, but they make up for this with their keen sense of hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Rats constantly explore and learn, memorizing the locations of pathways, obstacles, food and water, shelter, and feature of their environment. They quickly detect and tend to avoid new objects and novel foods. Thus, they often avoid traps and baits for several days or more following their initial placement. While both species exhibit this avoidance of new objects, this neophobia is usually more pronounced in roof rats than in Norway rats.
Both Norway and roof rats can gain entry to structures by gnawing, climbing, jumping, or swimming through sewers and entering through toilets or broken drains. While Norway rats are more powerful swimmers, roof rats are more agile and better climbers.
Noway and roof rats do not get along. The Norway rat is larger and the more dominant species; it will kill a roof rat in a fight. When the two species occupy the same building, Norway rats may dominate the basement and ground floors, with roof rats occupying the attic or second and third floors. The two specid can't interbreed. Both species can share some of the same food resources but don't feed side by side. Rats can grab food and carry it off to feed elsewhere.
Rodents have been responsible for, or implicated in, the spread of various diseases to people and domestic animals. Rodents carry many diseases such as, plague, murine typhus, rickettsial pox, salmonellosis, rat-bite fever, rabies, lymphocytic, choriomenigitis, trichinosis, typhoid, and dysentery.
Hearing: Rodents use hearing to locate objects to within a few inches away. Rats and mice have a frequency range of 50 kilohertz or more, which is much higher than humans who have a range of about 20 kilohertz.
Vision: Rats and mice have poor vision beyond three or four feet, but they are very sensitive to motion up to 30-50 feet away. For the most part, rodents are colorblind, but very light-colored or reflective objects may stand out in their environment and cause initial avoidance among sensitive rodents.
Smell: Odor is one of the rodent’s most important senses. Rodents mark objects and pathways with urine or glandular secretions. Rodents use their sense of smell to recognize the odors of the pathways to and from food sources, member of the opposite sex who are ready to mate, to differentiate between member of their own colonies and strangers, and to tell if a stranger is a strong or weak individual.