Rabbits may have a reputation as fast breeders, but mice and rats can sure give them a run for their money. While these rodents are skilled at many things—chewing through insulation and drywall, nesting out of the way in homes—they are baby-making machines above all else. That means that an unwanted guest can go from stowaway to house party host in a very short time, making rat and mouse control a time-sensitive priority.
First and foremost, mice breed all year round. That means whenever they get into your home, they’re good to go. There’s no hibernation period you can count on to give you some time to react. At around only 5 weeks old, a female mouse is ready to produce a litter. Each litter she produces will likely average around 5 or 6 baby mouse pups, but numbers can certainly climb higher, up to as many as 12 pups at once. While mouse can be known to scurry out of hiding into the territory of trusty cats or traps, a pregnant mouse will stay hidden in the spaces between the walls, following well-worn trails to food and water.
About 25 days after giving birth, a female mouse can get pregnant once again. And only a few short weeks after that, her female pups will be ready to produce pups of their own. So just how is it that the world isn’t overrun with mice? In the wild, their abundance makes them an excellent food source for predators like owls, hawks, and cats. In your home, however, they’re much safer. Not only can more mice live indoors, they can stay alive longer. In the wild, their life expectancy is about 12 months. Tucked away in your home, that can increase to 2 to 3 years.
Rats are similarly efficient multipliers. They too breed year-round, and they reach breeding age within about 5 weeks. About 3 weeks after getting pregnant, a female rat will give birth to a litter of 3 to 14 pups.
Everything rats do happens at an uncomfortably quick pace. Their front teeth grow at an astonishing rate of 4.5 to 5.5 inches each year. Rats wear their front teeth down by constantly chewing whatever’s closest, whether that’s cement, wood, brick, metal piping, or even other small animals.
If you manage to wipe out a large chunk of a rat population, but fail to get them all, the remaining rats will breed more frequently to replenish their numbers.
Halting the Spread
The best way to handle a rodent infestation is to stop it from happening in the first place. Preventative pest control is your best bet for making sure you never have to read about mouse or rat reproduction rates ever again. Here at Action Pest Exterminating, we work with homes and businesses throughout the Charlotte Metro Area in North Carolina to find and fix any entrances pests can use to invade your home. We also work with you to develop proper preventative behaviors that will help make your home or businesses unattractive to these unwanted house guests.