Rats or Mice in Attic?
Southern California’s Gopher and Pest Experts
Rats are various medium sized rodents. “True rats” are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, R. norvegicus. Many members of other rodent genera and families are also called rats and share many characteristics with true rats. A rat has an average life span of 2-3 years Rats are distinguished from mice by their size; rats generally have bodies longer than 12 cm (5 inches). Squirrels of most species are about the same size as rats but are members of their own family, Sciuridae, and are usually more specialized than rats.
A mouse (plural mice) is a rodent that belongs to one of numerous species of small mammals. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse (Mus musculus). It is found in nearly all countries and, like the laboratory mouse, serves as an important model organism in biology, and is also a popular pet. The American white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) and the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) also sometimes live in houses. These species of mice live commensally with humans. Although they may live up to two years in the lab, the average mouse in the wild lives only about 5 months, primarily due to heavy predation. Cats, wild dogs, foxes, birds of prey, snakes and even certain kinds of insects have been known to prey heavily upon mice. Nevertheless, due to its remarkable adaptability to almost any environment, and its ability to live commensally with humans, the mouse is regarded to be the third most successful mammalian species living on Earth today, after humans and the rat. Mice can be harmful pests, damaging and eating crops and spreading diseases through their parasites and feces. In the Western United States, breathing dust that has come in contact with mouse feces has been linked to the deadly hantavirus. The original motivation for the domestication of cats is thought to have been for their predation of mice and their relatives, the rats.