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Rats and mice are serious pests of humans and they can, in some cases, be difficult to control.

The rodents that are of greatest concern in urban areas are the Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus), Roof rat (Rouus rattus) and the House mouse (Mus musculus). These animals are well adapted to living in very close association with humans, sharing their food and shelter. Throughout history, rats and mice have been responsible for enormous losses of food and, owing to their ability to transmit diseases to humans by a variety of means, enormous losses of human life. Whether it be crops in the field or food in the home, rats still consume or contaminate vast amounts of food, and they can still pose a serious threat to health.


Being basically social animals, rats and mice live in groups, in nests constructed of any soft materials available (eg paper, fabrics, insulation). Out of doors they may nest in burrows adjacent to waterways, under buildings and so on, in trees and vines, in garbage dumps, rubbish heaps and other places where food and shelter are within reasonable range. Indoors they may construct nests in wall voids, in roof voids, under floors and even within stored foods.

Rats and mice are generally regarded as very adaptable, omnivorous scavengers. They are very agile animals and mostly nocturnal, but they may range and feed during the day, particularly if the population is very large, food is short, or there is little disturbance or danger.

The gnawing habits of rodents can cause considerable damage to buildings, furniture, books, equipment and machinery. Rodents can even gnaw electrical cables causing short-circuits and even electrical fires.

Rats and mice play a role in disease transmission. Diseases include the Black Death (bubonic plague), Salmonella food poisoning, Murine typhus fever, Weil’s disease and Trichinosis. Diseases are transmitted in a number of ways including urine and faeces, scratching and biting, other parasites (e.g. fleas), via pets or other indirect means.

If you are concerned about rodents in your building, contact Melbourne Pest Control to discuss eradication measures.