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                         Rodents: understand your enemy             
See also:  Mice facts : prevention, control, health hazards.
Get rid of mice
The three "R's of rodent control
Cleaning up after rodents

Rodent control professionals   

The most common Rodent Pests in Canada

Norway Rat
The Norway rat is large and robust, weighing in at about seven to 18 ounces. It has a blunt snout, small ears covered with short hairs, brown shaggy fur and a belly that is gray to yellowish white in color.
It is found throughout Canada.

Pest Control Canada                                            

Deer Mouse
This mouse has gained much attention in the past decade because it is the most common carrier of the deadly Hantavirus.
Information on Hantavirus can be found here.

The deer mouse is about six inches long to the tip of its tail.
It is brown to grayish on top, has a white belly and feet, large ears, Large eyes and a furry tail that is always white on the underside.
 Deer mice are active all year, and store food for the winter season much as the tree squirrels do. Nuts, seeds, berries, and insects are their usual food. Outdoors, these mice construct nests in stumps, under logs, in hollow tree cavities, or in abandoned bird nests. The litters vary in size between two and seven young, and several litters may be born throughout the year.
Deer mice live mainly in rural areas but they frequently enter houses, garages, storage sheds, and stored campers during the colder months where they may damage foodstuffs and furnishings. In unoccupied summer homes or cottages, damage to upholstered furniture can be extensive.


House Mouse
The house mouse is small, slender and weighs only about 0.4 to one ounce. It has a pointed snout, large ears with hair, and its fur is grayish to light brown on top, light brown (not white) on the underside, with scales showing on it
's tail. It can be found throughout  Canada.
House Mouse (Mus musculus).  Photo by John L. Tveten, courtesy of Texas A&M University Press.


Norway and black rats have litter sizes of six to 12 young, but up to 22 pups have been recorded.
The gestation period ranges from 21 to 25 days, with a female typically producing three to six litters
in her lifetime. Under ideal conditions, females may give birth every 24 to 28 days. Young rats become sexually mature at about three months, with most living six months to a year.

Under optimum conditions, a house mouse may live two years or more, and can breed throughout the year. A female has a gestation period of 18 to 21 days, and produces a litter ranging from two to 13 mice. A long-lived female may produce six to 10 litters.

Alberta celebrates 50 years "rat free".  Read the story.

Rodent Control

Because of the high risk to human health and potential damage to food, electrical wiring, insulation, clothing and personal effects rodent control should be taken very  seriously in the home or business. Prevention is the best method of control.

The three R's of rodent control:

  1. Eliminate the Reason rodents are in or near your home or place of work: 
    FOOD: Rodent populations are always in direct proportion to the amount of food available.  Bird  feeders  are probably the number one attractant for rats and mice around Canadian homes. Pet food, poorly stored human food, garbage and compost are other good food sources for rodents. 

    SHELTER: Mice and rats like to stay out of sight, even when feeding if possible to avoid predators.  They do most of their food foraging in the dark.  Clutter in the home, debris, construction lumber, firewood, wooden sidewalks and decks on the ground all provide a safe shelter for rodents. Once they sense the warmth of a building they will try to  find entry points.

  2. Eliminate Routes. 
    Skull size is the only thing that restricts rodents entering small holes or cracks. For a mouse this could be as small as a pen. Rats will burrow or chew to make small holes large enough. Mice will often chew wiring where it passes through holes. Holes made for  plumbing provide easy access from the basement or crawl space to all levels of a home and the attic.

      Steel wool packed around wiring and pipes will help keep mice out of  
      living quarters. Metal flashing should be used for rats. Crawl space vents
      should be screened with tight fitting 1/4 inch mesh. Exterior doors must
      fit tight especially at the sill. Keep them closed if you have rodents. 
      Repair foundation cracks with expansion cement.
      Use stainless flex screens to block brick wall weep holes.

 3.  Eliminate the RODENT
     Snap traps are the m
ost common and 
safest way to eliminate rodents in
      a building, if used properly. They should never be placed where other
      animals or children may come in contact. Poison baits are the most
      effective method of control when there are numerous rodents present. 
      When bait is used, the directions on the packaging must be adhered to

      Proper tamper resistant bait boxes are much safer and more effective
      than open space placement. Live trapping rodents is not effective and not
      recommended. ( Mice and rats are cannibals )  Rodents carrying disease
      and it is best not to help spread it to other locations. 
Why you should not live trap mice.
      Tracking powders should only be used by licensed pest control service

Most local pest professionals will gladly answer your questions about rat and mouse control.

You will find a list of professionals in your area by clicking on your province: 

Directory of Pest Management Professionals

Add your listing


multiple catch 
mouse trap

Tamper proof
bait station



Young rat in mouse trap. 
Small traps are not a humane device to control rats.  Use full size rat traps.
Bird feeders attract rodents. Rats have contributed to the extinction of 19 species of birds.

Wiring Damage.
A common problem caused by mice and rats is chewing insulation off electrical wiring.  The insulation is not a food source but if it restricts access through a hole it is easier to chew than the surrounding material. Although difficult to prove, rodents are suspected to cause many building fires.

Cable TV wire chewed by rodents.

January 17, 2007

EPA Proposes to Reclassifies Some Rodenticides as Restricted

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is classifying second generation anti-coagulant rodenticides (brodifacoum, bromadiolone, and difethialone) as restricted use products and requiring that all rodenticide products available for sale to consumers and labeled for indoor residential use be sold only in refillable tamper-resistant bait stations.   Pellets, grain baits, seed baits, and other types of loose rodenticide products would no longer be permissible for consumer products.  The long awaited proposal comes as part of EPA's re-registration of rodenticides.

Rodent Control Professionals & Products

Call us at 1-888-768-5467

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Visit our web site to read more about our residential and commercial Services       

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Since 1945 Poulin's has maintained an outstanding reputation as a leader within the Pest Control industry.

  York: 905-887-8559
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  GTA: 416-297-8010

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 We have the answers
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 Visit our website to solve your pest problem

Shop online  for sprays, traps,  dusts, and baits or stop by our show-room. 
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We will be pleased to answer your questions.

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For information about our comprehensive services please visit our web site:   CARE PEST            

See also:  Mice facts : prevention, control, health hazards. 

Links to other web sites:   
Don't bother live trapping mice. They are cannibals and may eat each other. 
They may have a heart attack and die in the live trap.  
They'll come back the next day when released!

Read this report on the amazing navigational instinct of mice.
  An excellent non commercial web site. Good  descriptions  and photos of the house mouse  and numerous other mammals.    
Rodent control tips from the University of North Dakota.


An Air Canada flight from Heathrow was cancelled after a rat was spotted onboardMore Rat Facts

Rodent Control

Wild rats live off man and give nothing beneficial in return. Rats spread disease, damage structures and contaminate food and feed. Rats damage one-fifth of the world's food crop each year. The real damage is in contamination. One pair of rats shed more than one million body hairs each year and a single rat leaves approximately 25,000 droppings in a year

Rats transmit Murine typhus fever, rat bite fever, salmonellas or bacterial food poisoning, Weils disease or leptospirosis and trichinosis, melioidosid, brucellosis, tuberculosis, pasteurellosis, rickettsial diseases, and viral diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease. Norway rats can also carry the rabies virus.

The Norway rat and the Roof rat are not native North American species. They traveled to the new world with the first explorers. The two species quickly invaded the continent because of their adaptability and fertility. Norway rats are found throughout the United States, while roof rats primarily inhabit southeastern, Gulf Coast and southwestern states.

Rats memorize their environment by body and muscle movement alone. They become so engrained by body movements that when objects are removed from their territory, rats will continue to move around them as if the objects where still there.


Roof rats reach sexual maturity in 2-5 months. Pregnancy lasts an average of 22 days. The young are blind and naked at birth, with hair appearing in about 7 days and eyes opening in 12-14 days. They are weaned at about 3-4 weeks. The average number of litters is 4-6 per year, each containing an average of 6-8 young. Adults on an average live 9-12 months.

They have rather poor vision and are color blind, but their senses of hearing, smell, touch, and taste are keenly developed. Touch is via their vibrissae or long whiskers. They are good runners, excellent climbers and jumpers, and good swimmers.

A roof rat requires 1/2-1 oz (14-28 g) of food and 1 oz (30 ml) of water each day, with the water often coming from its food. This results in about 30-180 droppings and 1/2 oz/3 teaspoons (16 cc) of urine per day.

Historically, bubonic plague has been associated with the roof rat and its fleas, which move from infested rats to man. Fortunately, plague has not been found in rats in the United States for many years. Other transmitted disease organisms include murine typhus via fleas (also probably via droppings and urine), infectious jaundice/ rat-bite fever via bites, trichinosis via undercooked pork, and food poisoning or Salmonellas via droppings. Another problem is tropical rat mite dermatitis, which is caused by these mites when they feed on humans.


Roof rats are primarily nocturnal in habit and they are very cautious. Although they constantly explore their surroundings, they shy away from new objects and changes. Roof rats prefer to nest in the upper parts of structures but may be found under buildings as well as occasionally in basements and sewers. Outdoors, they prefer to nest in higher places such as in trees but may occasionally be found in burrows in or under vegetation around the structure. These are social animals but less so than Norway rats. Several nests may be located within a given area. An opening of greater than 1/2" is required for entry of an adult rodent into buildings.

Although they will eat practically anything, roof rats prefer fruits, vegetables, and cereals. If the eaten food material proves disagreeable, they are quick to develop food/bait shyness. Once they find an acceptable/preferred food, rats tend to eat their fill at one sitting/place and will return time after time.

Once established indoors, roof rats tend to follow the same route or pathway between their harborage and food and/or water sources. Runways along vertical surfaces will usually include dark rub or swing marks on the vertical surface where their fur makes contact. Their runways will be free of debris, and outdoors, the grass will be worn away to the bare soil.


 Do electronic devices work?  No.  Read why on this web site.

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