House mouse in bread


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Rodents are mammals of the order Rodentia, from the Latin rodere “to gnaw”. They are the most numerous group of mammals on the planet, making up about 41% of known species. They are a very diverse group in both size and habitat, ranging from the South American capybara weighing up to 66kg, to the Baluchistan pygmy jerboa, the female adults of which weigh less than 4gm.

Over time rodents have been used as food, for clothing, as pets, some species such as the brown rat, black rat, and the house mouse, are serious pests, eating and spoiling food stored by people, and spreading diseases such as Hantavirus & Salmonellosis.

British Rodents

There are over 200 species of rodent in North America, over 70 species in Malaysia and India, but only about 10 native British rodent species in the UK. The majority of these are not considered pests, and some are endangered/protected species.
  • Bank vole – Myodes glareolus
  • Field vole – Microtus agrestis
  • Water vole – Arvicola amphibious
  • Dormouse, Hazel – Muscardinus avellanarius
  • Red squirrel – Sciurus vulgaris
  • Eurasian beaver – Castor fiber


Rodents like the Black rat and Brown rat which are seen as pests (with associated health risks in an urban or residential environment) are not native British rodents. They are now naturalised but originally Black/Ship rats arrived in Britain on Roman ships having worked their way to Europe from India. Brown rats are natives of Central Asia and arrived more recently during the early 1700's - again as stowaways in ships cargos.

Rentokil’s Rodent Control Treatments

We provide effective and individually tailored treatments to eliminate rodents from your home or business. Our BPCA certified technicians are experienced and knowledgeable, providing targeted solutions for your specific rodent problem and location.

We appreciate you don't want a repeat infestation and offer expert prevention advice and effective deterrents for rodents.

1. Contact

Call us and we will arrange for your local team to contact you

  • Local experts
  • Calls returned within 24 hours (Mon - Fri)
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2. Survey

We will discuss your pest problem, arrange a survey if necessary, and provide a quote and recommendations

  • Appointment at a time convenient to you
  • Solutions tailored to your pest problem
  • BPCA certified

3. Treatment

Our BPCA certified technicians will come out to provide your treatment

  • Appointment at a time convenient to you
  • Tailored treatment & effective solutions offered
  • Child & pet friendly treatments

4. Aftercare

We'll continue to monitor for pests to ensure any new activity is resolved quickly

  • Pest identification & prevention advice
  • Effective & discreet solutions
  • Peace of mind
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Types of Rodents

Rodents have adapted to almost every terrestrial habitat, from cold tundra (where they can live under snow) to hot deserts, tropical rain forests and temperate landscapes. In fact rodents can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Some species of rodent are also seen as invaders of the human environment:

  • Marmots
  • Hamsters
  • Guinea pigs
  • Gophers
  • Prarie dogs
  • Porcupines
  • Beavers
  • Capybaras

Rodent Characteristics

Most rodent species are reasonably small with robust bodies, long tails and short limbs. They tend to be herbivores (eating seeds, grains, roots and leaves). Some species however are more adaptable omnivores consuming a mixed diet that can include, insects, fish and meat as well as plants and grains.

The most noticeable feature all rodents possess is their razor sharp incisor teeth. As the incisors do not stop growing the rodents must continually gnaw to wear them down and prevent them getting too long. These formidable teeth are also used to excavate burrows, widen gaps to squeeze through and defend themselves.

These animals fall into three categories:

  • Arboreal – evolved to inhabit trees and woodlands
  • Fossorial (from Latin fosser “digger”) – adapted to digging and a life spent partly underground in burrows during the day, but return to the surface to forage.
  • Semiaquatic – adjusted to spend large amounts of time swimming and/or feeding in water to exploit food sources both aquatic and terrestrial.

Nocturnal rodents often have enlarged eyes and some sensitivity to ultraviolet light. Many also have vibrissae (long, thick and sensitive whiskers) used for “whisking” or touch.

Rodents use scent marking in communication, marking food trails and establishing territories. House mice in particular use urine deposits containing pheromones for group recognition and social structure. Rodents can recognise kin using olfactory (sense of smell) from urine, gland secretions and faeces.

Rodent Damage and Disease

There are three commensal rodent pests that have long been associated with people:

Some rodents are seen as critical agricultural pests, consuming or rendering inedible large quantities of stored food. It has been estimated that in Asia in just one year, rats and mice can remove rice from the human food chain that could have fed nearly 200 million people*.

The curiosity and inquisitiveness of rats and mice when exploring for food sources and shelter causes damage to property and structures as well as food. Their constant gnawing can damage insulation, pipes, doors, floorboards and they will also shred soft materials for nesting.

People have become a reliable source of food and shelter for these rodents since our ancestors progressed from hunter gathers to farmers. Rodents are cautious yet inquisitive and have learnt to avoid capture and be wary of poisons, making them complicated pests to control.

They are also carriers of disease as pathogens in their urine and faeces transmit diseases such as Hantavirus, Salmonellosis and the case of rats Weil’s disease (Leptospirosis), as well as Rat bite fever.


*"Mice, rats, and people: The bio-economics of agricultural rodent pests".Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (2003).