There are three main rodent pests that cause concern for suburban home and business within the greater Auckland area. There is nothing that sends a scare more than a rat or mouse in a home. Rats were key to the spread of the Black Plague spreading the bacterium (Yersinia pestis) ship rat to ship rat and being the carrier of the Oriental flea which passed the bacterium on to humans through their bite. Rodents pass on Salmonella food poisoning through urine and faeces contamination of utensils and food service area's, through to direct biting of individuals and an infection starting at the bite site.
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Roof rat (Rattus rattus)
As the name implies the roof rat is a climber and will take up residence in a roof because of the dryness and warmth it provides. Their colour is steel grey to black with a white underbelly and weighs up to about 300gms. Their lifecycle is normally about a year and females may produce 4-5 litters each of about 6 young. Roof rats consume vegetables and fruit material such as nuts etc
Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus)
The Norway rat is the larger of the two brown in colour and weighing up to .5KG. it is also known as the sewer rat, brown rat, water rat and common rat. It normally lives 9-18 months and may have 5-6 litters per year each with 8-10 young. They achieve sexual maturity at 3-4 months which gives them the ability to multiply in a very short time. They are good swimmers and often nest in burrows in the banks of waterways and under buildings. They prefer meat and other proteins in there diet. They are found in warehouses, factories, garbage dumps, flour mills, poultry farms, supermarkets domestic premises, sewers and many other locations anywhere that offers shelter and food.
House Mouse (Mus musculus)
The House mouse also referred to as the field mouse is small, has rather large ears a pointed snout and a tail at least as long as its body length. Being smaller than rats their access into buildings is far easier through much smaller access ways. Mice are more curious and exploratory than rats They are very good climbers, jumpers and swimmers. Mice tend to be omnivorous and are well adapted to survive on low water intake. While they are not big consumers of food their gnawing, nibbling, and contamination with urine and faeces can result in large quantities being contaminated.