Mice and rats are among the most common rodents in the world. These furry pests are known for their sharp teeth and their love of chewing on just about anything.
They gnaw on plastic, wood, meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, and even wires. If there’s something in your home that a mouse or rat can get their teeth around, chances are they will chew on it.
While they nibble on fruit and vegetables from time to time, their diet consists mostly of seeds, nuts, and grains. In the wild, they will also eat insects, small reptiles, and even baby birds.
Depending on the species of rodent, they may also consume different types of food. For example, some rodents like hopping mice eat more leaves and grass than other types of rodents.
Interesting Facts About Rodents and Their Chewing and Eating Habits
Whether you’re simply wondering about what these pests eat or you’re trying to figure out how to keep them away from your food, here are some interesting facts about rodents and their eating habits:
Rodents are Omnivores
Naturally, rodents are omnivores, which means that they eat both plants and animals. Wild rodents are often found near human settlements because they know that there will be food scraps to pick through.
In bushes and trees, they will nibble on leaves, berries, and nuts. If they’re lucky, they can also snag a few insects or small reptiles to eat.
Mice and rats are especially known for their love of grains, seeds, and nuts. In the wild, they will spend hours gathering food to store away for the winter months.
When they find a good supply of food, they will often hoard it in their nest so that they have something to eat when food is scarce.
If you’ve ever had a rodent infestation in your garden, you’ll most likely know that they’re there when you see burrowed holes and nibbled vegetables. These pests like to store their food underground, which is why they’re also often found in agricultural areas.
They Don’t Like Cheese Particularly
Mainstream movies and television shows would have you believe that all rodents love cheese. In reality, however, most rodents don’t particularly care for cheese. While they don’t particularly hate it, rodents would prefer other types of food over cheese.
They Nest Near Food Sources
Would you like it if your home is situated near your favorite restaurant? It’s the same for rodents. These pests will often build their nests near areas where they know there is a good supply of food. This way, they have easy access to their next meal and they don’t have to travel far to find it.
Rats, for instance, are often found in sewers because they know that there will be plenty of food scraps for them to eat.
Mice are also commonly found in kitchens because they can easily find food crumbs to nibble on. Inside your home, they will also build their nests in attics, basements, and even in walls.
Outdoors, you’ll often find them near farmers’ fields, gardens, and trash cans.
They’re Nocturnal Animals
Most rodents are nocturnal animals, which means that they are most active at night. This is because they are less likely to be seen by predators and humans when it’s dark.
They will also have an easier time finding food at night since most people are asleep. During the day, they will often sleep in their nests or burrows.
They Chew on Plastic and Wires
Contrary to popular belief, rodents don’t chew plastic and wires to eat. In fact, they actually don’t eat these things at all. So why do they chew on them?
There are a few reasons why rodents might chew on plastic and wires. For one, their teeth are constantly growing. In order to keep their teeth short, they need to gnaw on something hard. Chewing on plastic and wires helps file down their teeth so that they don’t get too long.
During their lifetime, a rodent’s teeth continuously grow, and chewing on hard surfaces helps to file them down.
Their Teeth Are Strong Enough to Gnaw on Wood
Rodents have strong teeth that are capable of gnawing on wood. Aside from keeping the sharpness of their teeth in check, chewing on wood also allows rodents to discover new food sources and places.
These little rodents can chew on foundations, baseboards, and even support beams. If you have a rodent infestation, you might notice that your furniture has been chewed on or that there are small holes in the walls. These rats are to blame for it and may have nested somewhere in between your walls, in the attic, or in the crawlspace.
Rodents Can Sometimes Be Cannibals
Oddly enough, rodents can sometimes be cannibals. Mice and rats have been known to eat other mice and rats, and even their own young. This usually happens when food is scarce and they’re desperate for something to eat.
Whenever there is a shortage of food, rodents will sometimes resort to cannibalism. This is because they are desperate for something to eat and will do whatever it takes to survive.
While it’s not something that happens all the time, cannibalism is something that you should be aware of if you have a rodent infestation. Sometimes, when their numbers grow larger and there’s less available food, larger rodents will eat smaller ones.
Sources That Attract Rodents
Mice, rats, and other rodents are attracted to food sources, water sources, and shelter. If you want to get rid of the infestation or prevent one from happening, you need to keep these pests away from these sources.
Open Trash Cans / Bins
One of the most common ways that rodents get into homes is through open trash cans or bins. If you have your trash can outside, make sure that the lid is tightly closed. Their strong sense of smell will lead them right to the food scraps, and they will be able to get into the bin even if it’s not completely open.
Once they do, it won’t be long enough until they find their way inside your home.
Unsecured Food Containers
By now, we’ve already established that rodents have a strong sense of smell. If you have food containers in your pantry or kitchen that are not sealed tight, they will be able to smell it from a distance and make their way inside. Even thick plastic containers won’t get in the way of their noses.
Rodents love clutter so much because it gives them plenty of places to hide. If your home is full of boxes, newspapers, and other things lying around, it’ll be the perfect place for them to build their nests. Not only that, but it’ll be harder for you to spot them if they’re hiding in all the clutter.
Make sure to get rid of any clutter in your home, and keep things tidy so that rodents won’t have a place to hide.
Poorly Maintained Foundations
One of the most common ways that rodents get into homes is through cracks and holes in the foundation. Weak foundation and wall structures are easier for them to gnaw through, so they will take advantage of it if they can.
If you have cracks or holes in your foundation, make sure to patch them up as soon as possible. Mice can fit through tiny spaces, so even the smallest crack can be an opening for them to get into your home.
Leaves and Debris
If you have a garden, no matter how big or small, you’re at risk of attracting rodents. Leaves and debris can provide them with shelter and a place to build their nests. If you have a lot of these things around your home, it’s time to clean them up.
Rodents naturally eat seeds, fruits, and vegetables whenever available. However, they may also nibble on wood, plastic, and wires, not because it’s part of their diet, but because they have a constant need to gnaw and chew.
If you have a rodent problem in your home, make sure to get rid of their food sources and take away their hiding spots. Doing so will help get rid of the infestation for good.