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Structure, Appearance and Characteristics

  • Weight approx 20 g
  • Body Shape: Slender
  • Nose: Pointed
  • Fur: Fine, coloured brown to grey
  • Ears: Reasonably large, hairy
  • Tail: About as long as body and head, partly naked
  • Droppings: Pointed, 3-4mm long, can be mistaken for cockroach droppings and vice versa.
  • Good climbers, jumpers and swimmers (although seldom swim).

Life Cycle

  • Rodents are mammals
  • Gestation Period: 19 days
  • Sexual Maturity: 6 weeks
  • Number of Litters per year: 6-10
  • Average number per litter: 5-6
  • Average Lifespan: approx 1 year.
  • Based on figures, one breeding pair can be responsible for producing up to 2000 offspring in a year.


Occurs inside and outside but not found in sewers. Often will move indoors if conditions outside become adverse. Access to buildings is easier than for rats. Options for nesting sites are much wider than for rats. Within building they typically nest in wall voids, cupboards, roof voids, stored foods, boxes, furniture. Outdoors they live in burrows.


  • Omnivorous. Favours nuts, grains, fruits, meatmeals, animal feeds. Cheese is not a favoured food! (approx 3 grams per day)
  • Well adapted to low water intake (1 millilitre per day)
  • Feed frequently, in small portions at various locations. Mostly active around dusk and during night but in secluded areas can be active during the day also.
  • Foraging Range: 3-10 metres

Pest Status Major pest.

Gnawing, nibbling and contamination of food products through droppings and urine. Can grow to plague proportions in rural areas when weather and food conditions are right. Transmits numerous diseases.


Control for rodents comprises four main approaches:

  1. Sanitation – reducing the food and shelter available for rodent activity
  2. Rodent-proofing – alter the building structurally so that rodents cannot gain entry.
  3. Trapping – using traps to physically capture rodents
  4. Chemical Control – covers a wide variety of techniques including baiting, use of tracking powders and gels and in some cases, fumigants.