Mice & Rats
While the vast majority of pests in urban environments are arthropods, certain mammals have established themselves, over many years, as extremely important pests of humans. Mammals are characterised by being warm blooded and covered with fur (or hair) and by their habit of suckling their young. Within the large mammal group, rats and mice belong to the group known as rodents (from the Latin rodere 'to gnaw'). This name refers to their gnawing habit, which is necessary to control the size of their characteristic, chisel-shaped, front incisor teeth.
The rodents that are of great concern in the urban pest control context, not just in Australia, but in many countries, are:
Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus)
These animals are well adapted to living in very close association with humas, sharing their food and shelter. Throughout history, rats and mice have been responsible for enormous loss of food and, owing to their ability to transmit diseases to humans by a variety of means, enormous losses of human life. Whether it be crops in the field or foods in store, rats still consume or contaminate vast amounts of food, and they can still pose a serious threat to health. Hence, it is not suprising that many countries have adopted legislation aimed at reducing levels of infestation. Urban pest control operators typically expend much energy in trying to control these very cunning and often cautious pests, which have so successfully exploited urban environments. Ironically, laboratory-bred rats and mice have, in more recent years, played a very important role in medical research, pesticide evaluation and other studies, where animals akin to humans are used as a guide for implications regarding human health.