Many types of rodents can infest a home, rats and mice being the most common. Rodents can breed rapidly and do quite a bit of damage to your home by chewing on things and getting into food supplies. Wild rodents can also carry diseases that may infect humans, whether directly or through fleas and ticks that infect the rodents.
You may notice signs of a rodent infestation before you catch a glimpse of the actual rodents. One of the most common signs is the presence of rat or mouse droppings. Both are similar in shape, but rat droppings are bigger than mouse droppings. Rodent urine might also be found. Rodent feces is usually found in the kitchen, in cupboards, drawers, and pantries. You may also hear the rodents walking around or squeaking, especially at night. In some cases, nests may be found. Nests are made from various scraps that the rodents find. Rodents also chew on things continually to keep their front teeth filed down. Wood in the house can be damaged due to rodent gnawing. The most dangerous aspect of rodent gnawing is when the rats or mice chew on electrical cords, potentially leading to electric fires in your home. A house cat or dog might also notice rodents in the walls or behind furniture and chase or bark at them.
Although a rodent infestation is not a good thing to have, and many people are afraid of rats and mice, rats and mice are interesting and intelligent creatures. Rats and mice are both kept as domesticated pets and are intelligent enough to learn tricks. Wild mice and rats do not make good pets like the domesticated varieties do; domesticated mice and rats are significantly more friendly than their wild counterparts. Rats and mice both have an excellent sense of smell and they are even used in the place of dogs to sniff for drugs, explosives, or even human diseases such as tuberculosis.
Mice are basically herbivorous in the wild, eating plant material, but they will eat pretty much any food scraps they can find in someone's home. Rats are opportunistic feeders and will eat basically anything. The life span of rodents is shorter in the wild than in captivity because they have many predators, such as birds of prey and reptiles. Rodents are often sold as live reptile food for owners of snakes. In some cultures, rodents are eaten by people as a source of food. In most developed cultures, eating rodents is taboo because they are seen as dirty creatures.
Rats and mice are both commonly used as laboratory research animals and many genetically engineered strains exist. Laboratory research on rodents has led to a lot of insight about human diseases, because rodents are a good animal model for many diseases that can affect humans.
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