Catching a single household rodent on your own accord may feel like a personal victory, almost as if you’ve vanquished some great villain. Yet, unbeknownst to you, an entire colony of house mice and Norway rats could be living inside your walls or permeating your home’s crawlspace. Now, the rodent you caught in your makeshift trap using a peanut butter mouse-enticer doesn’t seem like as much of an accomplishment, does it?
Most rodents that enter homes are known to be prolific breeders, especially within hospitable conditions. Once established within your living space, the production numbers among rodents can be staggering and unmanageable for the average homeowner. Today, we examine a rodent’s lifecycle in relation to your own home, while emphasizing the importance of proactive inspections.
Rodents Entering Your Home
When temperatures drop to a point that threatens their existence, rodents will burrow and gnaw until they find a safe environment. Their bodies are small enough to fit through the faintest cracks or faults in your home, including your walls, pipe system, and even the foundation. Especially in the harsh Wisconsin winter climate, rodents will scamper from the wooded areas surrounding your home and create a new abode within your wall interiors, basement, storage containers or attic.
Upon taking up residence within the covert spaces of your living area, rodents will rip through electrical wiring, contaminate your food and water and potentially spread harmful diseases to your family. A widespread rodent infestation in your home could mean thousands of dollars in home repairs and put your family’s health and safety at risk. As we examine a rodent’s mating cycle, we can see how incredibly prudent it is to schedule a comprehensive inspection on a regular basis.
Rodents will instigate the breeding process after only a few days of a male and female coming into contact, which takes place at the end of the female’s estrous cycle. Depending on the breed – brown rat, black rat, and house mouse – the pregnancy cycle lasts anywhere between 18 and 22 days. Similarly, the amount of pups a single female can produce varies, but the average litter ranges from six to 12 offspring.
Normally, a rodent’s mating period would be severely restricted during the winter months due to the unfavorable conditions. However, your climate-controlled home allows those creatures to continue procreating and actually extend their life by a few years. This is particularly alarming when considering the fact that a single female can resume mating only a few days post-pregnancy and is able to produce up to 8 litters in a year. This roughly translates to about 56 offspring in a year from one mother, with separate litters birthed within 25 days of each other. Now, imagine this occurring behind your walls’ insulation without your knowledge.
Life After Birth
Rodents are born without hair and unable to see during the first days of life, with the mother nursing through the first week of life. After developing eyesight on the 14th day, a newborn begins developing its highly-durable incisors, which grow at a rate of 2.2mm per week. Their enamel causes the tooth to continually grow, so the rodent gnaws at any available surface to maintain a constant length. The newly born creature will wreak havoc on your home from an early age.
Sexual maturity is reached within eight weeks at the absolute latest, with the earliest reproduction date occurring after 35 days of life. Males will actively seek out partners and attempt to maximize their number of descendants, while the females will mate with numerous males during the breeding cycle.
Essentially, once rodents enter your home and remain a fixture, in is inevitable that they will start breeding. Their offspring will only multiply over time, and, if left untreated, could ruin your home and livelihood. So really, it’s never just a single mouse. Regular inspections in the areas of your home most prone to rodents can prevent a single mouse from turning into dozens of mice in just a few months’ time.
To control rodents in your home, contact Wil-Kil today.