Within the Greater Brisbane area there are seven species of native rodents and three introduced species. The House Mouse, Sewer Rat and Ship Rat have been introduced into Australia over time, principally in ships’ cargo. It is thought that all three originated in China or South East Asia and spread worldwide in the centuries when sea-faring trade opened up the world. The native rodents are protected but because they look similar to the introduced species, positive identification from a distance can be difficult.
All three introduced rodents have a pair of long, yellow incisors at the tip of the mouth on both upper and lower jaw. This is the only way to distinguish them from the protected native rodents. The House Mouse is usually olive-brown with a strong, musky scent. The Ship Rat can vary in colour from black through to white but is generally steel-grey with a white underbelly and quite a long tail. The Sewer Rate has shaggy fur and is coloured similar to the Ship Rat although generally is brown on the back with a dirty white underbelly and a short, thick tail.
Rodents are born blind and hairless. The gestation period for a House Mouse is 18-21 days and they reach sexual maturity in 35 days. The gestation period for a rat is 22 to 25 days. Once they have given birth, the females go on heat again within 24 hours.
House Mouse – will range anywhere and everywhere.
Ship Rat – anywhere around human habitation – often found in ceilings, veranda’s, fowl houses, dumps and degraded habitats.
Sewer Rat – anywhere around human habitation especially around ports – docks, wharves, tunnels, drains and sewers.
All three will eat grains, seeds and food scraps which is why they thrive near human habitation. Sewer rats prefer meat such as insects, prawns, birds, mice as well as scraps.
Detrimental Effects to Humans and Property
All three leave droppings in large quantities contaminate food with urine, hair and faeces and spread serious diseases such as salmonella and typhus. All have gnawing habits that damage timber in buildings, furniture, books and have been known to chew through electrical cables, causing damage and starting fires.
Removing food and shelter are top of the list for control mechanisms. Keeping the environment both inside and outside buildings clean and free of rubbish and food sources like household scraps, and making sure all stored food is inaccessible will remove the food source. Getting rid of old boxes, unused furniture pieces and anything else that will provide shelter is also important for control.
When there is an infestation, stronger measures are called for. Trapping and chemical control are just two of the weapons in the exterminator’s arsenal. The team at Bob Gunn Termite Solutions are trained, experienced and licensed to advise on the best method for eradicating rodents, and will offer a solution that suits each individual circumstance.