Rats and rodents bedevil humans. They are medium-sized rodents while mice are generally small-sized rodents. There are two species that are found throughout most of the United States – the black rat and the brown rat.
Rats and mice are known as commensal animals because they live with and near humans. They are very opportunistic and can survive in many different environments. They are also a major problem in developing countries because they are responsible for large and substantial food losses. Therefore rat and rodent control is a major effort in much of the world.
Rats and rodents are also feared because of their reputation of spreading diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease and swine fever. The Center for Disease Control lists close to a dozen diseases that are transmitted by rats. However, they often serve as a transport host for other disease carrying pests. It is widely believed that fleas that lived on rats in the middle ages were responsible for the millions of human deaths due to bubonic plague.
Rats and rodents are intelligent and adaptable. They have an excellent sense of smell and are frequently found around humans because of the available shelter, warmth, and/or food.
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