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Location: 2242 Carroll Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46818 • Hours: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday
Meet the Staff: Josh Blauvelt, BS, CHHS, Asst. Director; Tom McCue, BS, Env. Health Specialist II; Francis Koch, Env.Technician; Pat De Haven, Secretary; Seasonal Mosquito Technicians
Rats & Mice - Biology & Diseases
We all agree commensal rodents are good for nothing. In fact, the word "commensal" means these rodents live off humans without returning anything of worth. The Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) and house mouse (Mus musculus) are the prevailing rodent species found in Allen County.
The rat's tail is shorter than the head and body. The ears are close to the body and do not cover the eyes when bent forward. The eyes are small and the nose and muzzle are blunt.
Rats usually live in underground burrows, but will inhabit wall voids. They feed on garbage, meat scraps, cereal grains, vegetables, and cat and dog food. Rats will dig undigested food out of cat and dog feces and eat it.
Mice tail size equals the length of the body, which averages about 4 inches. The ears are big and nose is pointed. Mice live for about year.
Mice fear rats, so you may have one or the other; not both. Rats will eat mice.
Droppings and urine trails left wherever they travel, especially in corners
Rat droppings look like little footballs
Mouse droppings look like pieces of rice
Dark smears and rub marks on baseboards as they move throughout their territories
Footprints and tail drags in dusty areas
Gnaw marks on wooden surfaces, especially door corners
A distinctive, musky odor
House pets may become agitated because they hear gnawing, digging, running and fighting
Rats and their fleas are capable of transmitting a variety of human diseases. Mice are also capable of transmitting disease, while also contributing to asthma conditions.
Asthma is triggered in humans by many things, rodent hair and urine included.
Hantavirus is carried and transmitted by the deer mouse through its urine, droppings, and saliva.
Human Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis is a rodent-borne viral infectious disease that causes serious neurological problems. It is primarily carried by the house mouse, but hamsters in contact with wild mice at a pet store can also carry the disease.
Leptospirosis (Weil's disease) is contracted through water or food contaminated with the urine of infected rats.
Plague, a disease carried by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis, is known to exist in the western United States, South America, Africa and Southeast Asia. Humans are infected by the bite of the Oriental rat flea.
Rat-bite Fever is rare in the United States. It is caused by the bite of an infected rat.
Salmonellosis is a bacterial food-borne illness. It is transmitted when rodents contaminate food or working surfaces where food is prepared.
Typhus is transmitted to humans by infected rat fleas, usually Xenopsylla cheopis, the Oriental rat flea. The flea will defecate while sucking blood and contaminate the bite site.
- Rodent Brochure
- Seal Up! Trap Up! Clean Up!
- Rodent-proofing Your Home
- Rats and Mice
- Purchasing a Healthy Pet Rodent
More Articles: General Information • FAQ • Animal Bites & Rabies • Bed Bugs • Built Environment • Childhood Lead Poisoning • Childhood Lead Screening • Children's Environmental Health Protection • Cockroaches • Healthy Homes • Indoor Air Quality • Integrated Pest Management • Lodging Establishments • Meth Labs • Mold • Mosquitoes • Mosquitoes - Biology • Mosquitoes - Diseases • Mosquitoes - Prevention & Control • Pests & Other Vectors • Radon • Rats & Mice - Control • Ticks • Unsanitary Conditions • Unwanted Refrigerators & Freezers
Rabies may have inspired the vampire legend (Reuters, Nov 1999).