About Rodents

Rodents are mammals.

There are many species of rodents in Australia, most commonly the black rat, brown rat, pacific rat, house mouse & five-lined palm squirrel.

They all have large incisors that continue to grow every day, they gnaw on things to keep them trim and sharp.

Most rodents are herbivors meaning they eat plants, nuts and seeds, however, there are some that are omnivors which also eat small insects and frogs etc.

Rodents are usually quite small creatures with small arms and legs.


Rodents are best known for their ability to carry and spread disease, rats being responsible for the black plague which struck the UK in the 14th century and wiped out a huge portion of the population.

They are also very smart, rats can even learn tricks.

Rodents are also biologically similar enough to humans that they are often used in scientific testing.


They are not harmful to humans generally, but they cause a lot of damage to properties especially structure and wiring.


Most of the damage done by rats is structural in that they gnaw at walls and wiring.

Rats & Mice – The common rodents pests.


The 2 most common rats found in Australia are:

  • The Brown Rat

180mm – 230mm long, brown coat on top, yellowish underbelly with tails shorter than their body length.


  • The Black Rat

180mm – 240mm long, light brown coat (even though they are called black rats), with tails slightly longer than the length of their body.

Rats can be found in cities, suburbs & rural areas.

They can live indoors or outdoors.

They often have large burrows/nests and create a social hierarchy where the more dominant males reserve mating rights.

They are very smart, making it hard to trap and remove them from human inhabited areas.

Rats are very territorial and can be quite aggressive when they feel threatened.

The black rat’s incisors grow at such a rate that they are constantly chewing and gnawing to reduce their size and keep them sharp.

Rats have short gestation periods of approx. 3 weeks.

Female rats will give birth to 6-10 babies at a time.

When they are born they are blind and have no hair but reach adulthood within 3 months.



The general characteristics of a mouse are:

  • little pointed nose
  • small rounded ears
  • long hairless tail
  • 60mm-80mm long
  • Weigh between 20-40 grams

Most commonly brown, black, tan or grey in colour.

Mice are very hardy creatures and can survive in most areas.

In the wild they create burrows for shelter and protection from predators such as cats. They also like domestic dwellings such as garages and roofs.

Mice are mostly nocturnal which is why they can often be heard at night.

Mice are great at jumping, climbing and swimming.

They are sensitive to temperature changes and like to keep warm.

They are biologically similar to humans which is why they are often used as test subjects.

Mice generally live for 3-4 years.

The females are pregnant for around 20 days.

They usually have litters of approx 10-12 babies (known as pups or pinkies).

The pups are weaned from their mothers after about 3 -4 weeks.

They can reproduce between 6 and 10 times a year.

Mouse in the House