Of Mice, Rats and Men
By Lee S. Yudin, Ph.D.
November 28, 1998
Rats and mice are important rodents pests which can enter homes and warehouses for food, water, and shelter. One primary reason why rodents are found in residential and commercial structures is the simple fact that both the rat and mouse eat the same food we as humans eat. If we only had to worry about sharing our food with them they might not be all that serious of a pest. But the fact that rodents also contaminate 10 times as much food as they eat – they become very serious health problem. In addition, rats and mice can carry at least 10 different kinds of diseases to man. On Guam, the three most important rodent pests are the Norway rat, the roof rat, and the house mouse.
Norway rats have a preference for fresh meat, fish and grains, but can survive quite well on an ounce per day of garbage, along with an ounce of water. Norway rats will travel 100 to 150 feet from their ground nests in search of food or water. The Norway rat is reddish – brown with a blunt nose. Its tail is about as long as the combined head and body. The adults weigh between ¾ to1 pound.
Roof rats are climbers and prefer to nest off the ground. Roof rats are especially found in roof spaces, palm trees, and ornamental shrubbery. Roof rats prefer vegetables, fruits and grain, and require an ounce of food and water each day. Their color ranges from black to gray to tan. The tail is longer than the combined head and body. The adults weigh between ½ to ¾ pound.