Rodents love attics. Something about the cozy warmth and availability of potential nesting material (both the insulation and your stored belongings) makes this type of space a dream home for these critters. If you happen to come across a nest, you may want to know which animal it belongs to. There are many differences between rats and mice, including the look and size, favorite habitat, eating habits and nesting behavior. Both of these critters should be removed, of course, and our rodent proofing and removal experts will be happy to help.
Preferred Nesting Locations
When searching for a place to build a nest, mice will look for two things – a source of food and a source of building material. Because they are basically shy creatures, they will find an area that is hidden from predators but close enough to food (no more than 30 feet) and to paper, fiber or soft material they can shred, like foam attic insulation for example.
Unlike mice, rats are bigger and stronger and will construct either a burrow or a nest, depending on the situation. Norway rat burrows are usually built in basements or crawl spaces and often have multiple exits, while roof rats build their homes in trees, attics, or dense vegetation. They will often have several spots and will move between them.
The Structure Of The Nest
A house mouse nest is a simple ball-like structure made from the soft material they gather and shred. Because they are very small and their newborns are tiny, a small structure can contain a colony with a few generations. A rat burrow has smooth hard-packed dirt walls with a clear entrance, up to 18 inches deep, and up to 3 feet of tunnels, while the nests are constructed of debris, twigs, cotton, attic insulation or plant materials.
Signs of Rodents
You can often detect the presence of rodents in your home or attic before you can actually see one. Droppings can usually be found around both feeding areas and nests. Mice feces is small and stick-like, while roof rats’ are shaped like spindles, and Norway rat droppings are shaped like capsules. Urine smell can often be detected around the nests, and footprints, scratch marks and smudge spots can be seen in dusty places and on wooden floors.
Breeding Habits Of Rodents
Rodents can become a nuisance very quickly if they are not removed quickly: mice can have 7-8 litters per year, of 4-16 pups each, while rats can have 3-6 litters per year, of 5-10 pups each. If you identify signs of a nest, or if you want to make sure these critters won't make it into your home, our experts at Attic Cleaning Walnut Creek can rodent proof your house. If you find evidence of mice or rats, we can help you get rid of them with humane, non-lethal ways, and completely clean your attic and crawl space afterwards.