Catching mice and rats


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Mice and rats catcher (and other intruders such as snakes, scorpions, spiders, etc.)

Mice and rats are a real nuisance. Although they don't usually bite, and no longer spread the plague, they still cause us damage and inconvenience. Usually it's mainly a matter of bad smell, feces, and chewed food, but sometimes valuable objects are destroyed. The following information is based on my extensive experience in catching and trapping mice and rats, and gives an overall view of the problem – how to tell that a problem exists, how to distinguish between a mouse and a rat, possible causes and solutions, and ways to get rid of a mouse or a rat.

Why should I call a catcher and not an exterminator?

Many times, the easiest and safest pest control is catching the pests with rat or mice traps, without using poison. Avoiding pesticides when possible is preferred because of the following reasons:

When should I call a catcher and not an exterminator?

Catching the animals is better when the problem is local – a closed house, shop, or other space, which is inhibited by a small number of rats or mice. In the yard or when there is a severe infestation, poison might be the only solution. In such case, a qualified professional and trusted exterminator should determine what poison to use and how. When the house or yard are heavily infested, it is advised to first remove what caused the problem (see details below), and then deal with the problem itself.

How can I distinguish between a rat and a mouse?

The most obvious difference between a rat and a mouse is size. Rats are about 20 cm long, and have a thick tale with scale-like skin which is very long– about the same length as the body. Mice are about 7 cm long with a thin tale, also about the same size as the body. The following picture provides a scale to compare between the size of mice and rats.

Mouse and Rat sizes compared to a cigarette pack
How can I tell if there are mice or rats in my house?

Because mice and rats are active mainly at night and run away when someone approaches, many times we can tell there are pests in the house only by clues. Rats, more than mice, tend to create a mess: nibbling fruits, carrying potatoes and avocados from place to place, tearing nylon bags, and turning over trash cans. Mice are much smaller and weaker, and therefore cause much less damage.

Rats also often make loud walking, tapping, scratching and chewing noises, mainly in kitchen cabinets (especially the one under the sink), walls and ceilings, attics and other closed spaces. Feces are also a good indication of rodent presence. If the droppings are larger than a grain of rice they were excreted by a rat, if they are smaller, it is most probably a mouse. The following picture allows comparison between rice and rats and mice droppings.

What are the causes of pest problems, and how can I prevent mice and rats from coming into my house?

There are two main factors that attract mice and rats:

To minimize the chances of rodents entering our house, we should take the following steps:

Can I get rid of mice or rats by myself?

If you wish to solve the problem yourself, I recommend using traps and not poison in almost all cases. There are fair chances you will succeed in trapping the invader, yet these animals – especially rats, are very intelligent, and can be very hard to catch. Some of the people that call me simply don't want to deal with the problem. Others call me after they have tried to get rid of the mouse or rat by themselves, and failed. How do I succeed where they fail? It's a matter of experience and using the best gear available.

Who are the mouse and rat?

The mouse and rat are both rodents from the family of mice. They both may live either alone or in groups, and are active mainly during the night.

House mouse Common rat (two species in Israel – the Black Rat, and the Brown Rat)

More on mice and rats from Wikipedia

More on rats andmice from Wikipedia.