Grey squirrels can cause serious damage through their gnawing of cables, building structures and other vulnerable materials such as insulation as they search for food or nesting material.
They will readily inhabit lofts, attics and roof spaces as well as outbuildings. Signs of their presence will be scratching noises and droppings, however, these can be mistaken for rat droppings. They are not thought to carry human diseases but can bite if they are frightened. In addition, grey squirrels may pass fleas to domestic animals which can be treated using animal flea treatments.
Grey squirrels can survive in copses, shrubs, hedgerows and trees, and build their nests from twigs, leaves and moss. They have a varied diet of seeds, buds, flowers, shoots, nuts, berries and fruit from many trees and shrubs, and will also eat fungi and insects.
The house mouse is generally dusty grey with a lighter coloured underside. The head and body measures between 70mm and 95mm, with the tail measuring as much again. Adult mice can be confused with juvenile rats but there are two main features which distinguish between them. A juvenile rat has large feet and a large head relative to its size, an adult mouse has smaller feet and a smaller head.
Mice breed rapidly and under optimum conditions a female can have a litter of around six every 40 to 50 days.
1. Mouse Droppings
Mice are virtually incontinent and produce between 80 and 120 droppings per day, depending on their diet. Droppings will be found scattered wherever mice have been. The droppings are usually black, spindle shaped and measure around 1/4″ (6mm) in length. In loft spaces, mouse droppings can be confused with bat droppings.
2. Mouse Damage
Mice gnaw, simply to keep their teeth in good condition, therefore look for signs of teeth marks. Also look for any holes in the skirting boards and floor boards, especially where pipes enter as mice often move around in ceiling voids and cavity walls.
These rodents can cause a lot of damage and rats also carry diseases that can be contracted by humans, such as Wells disease. The most common is the Brown Rat (also called the Sewer Rat).
The Brown Rat has a head and body length of between 8″ and 11″ and has brown fur on its back and grey underneath, although sometimes black and white varieties are seen. The tail is shorter than the head and body and measures between 6″ and 8″.
Although rats have good senses of smell and hearing, their whiskers provide them with such a good sense of touch that they can quite easily find their way around in complete darkness.
Rats are very agile and can even climb vertical walls if the surface is rough enough and they are especially good at swimming.