Why Are Rodents—Rats and Mice—So Successful?

Author: Kurt Treftz, Cascade Pest Control

The Amazing Abilities of Rodents—Rats and Mice—and why they are such formidable pests.

Rodents are wild animals, they live their lives in survival mode.  And they’ll go to extremes in order to succeed. Rodents are amazingly adaptive and are hardened by the harsh realities of survival. They will be with us for a long time so we need to know how to deal with them. And with decades of experience combating rodent pests and protecting folks from infestations, we at Cascade Pest Control know rodent control.

Necessary Rodent Control Expertise

Every Cascade technician is trained on the behavior of rats and mice, how to read the signs and how to control them. As much as people occasionally see a rat or mouse, they are extremely stealthy and secretive. Most of them you will never see. When a rodent control call comes into Cascade Pest Control, we typically see that the rats or mice have been established in and/or around a home for months before the client ever even knew they had a rodent issue.

Rats and mice both are willing to exert all their strength and stamina in efforts to get what they’re after. They can be incredibly patient, adaptable, persistent, and even aggressive. We are continuously amazed by the tenacity of rodents to enter a home or business, often climbing wires or trees daily to get back and forth. Or tunneling their way in.

Cascade Pest Control technicians are repeatedly reminded how rodents—rats and mice both–damage homes and autos, contaminate food, and spread disease.

Here are some facts about Rats and Mice:

Here’s why rats are such formidable enemies:

  • Rats can jump vertically up to 36 inches and 48 inches (4 feet) horizontally.
  • Dropping from a height of 50 feet doesn’t kill or seriously injure them.
  • Rats have flexible sculls that allow them to squeeze through holes 1/2 inch in diameter.
  • Rat teeth grow so they can constantly gnaw on anything softer than their teeth, including plywood, aluminum, and even some kinds of concrete.
  • Rats can climb up a vertical brick wall. They can shimmy up the outside of a 3 inch pipe and even up and down in the spaces between things like downspouts and a wall.
  • Their sense of balance allows them to scurry along power and cable lines to your house.
  • Norway rats can burrow to a depth of 4 feet.
  • Swim up to a 1/2 mile, and dive through plumbing traps and swim through sewer lines. Yes, rats do occasionally appear in toilets!
  • Two rats, under ideal conditions, can produce thousands of offspring in one year.
  • Rats are “commensal”, meaning they do particularly better thriving around human populations.


  • Mice are considerably smaller and they can’t jump, fall or swim as far as rats do. However, they make up for this with their other abilities.
  • Mice make up for their small size by coming in larger numbers…which, if established and conditions are right, can multiply rapidly.
  • Mice can squeeze through much smaller gaps…the size (width) of a pencil.
  • Mice can climb any vertical surface that is textured, and they can balance on any twig, wire, or cord.
  • One mouse species, the house mouse, thrives with human populations.
  • Our most abundant mouse species, the deer mouse, is abundant with huge populations in the wilderness, rural, and outlying suburban areas of the Puget Sound region.

Tragically, deer mice, which are found in our rural and suburban areas, can carry the sometimes deadly hantavirus. There were several (local) confirmed human cases of hantavirus in 2015 and 2016. One resulted in death.

Rats and mice can do all sorts of amazing things.  They are absolutely gifted in terms of stealthy behavior and, as such, they are often established in a home’s attic and/or crawlspace for months before they’re discovered by the homeowner.

Rats depend on us—Don’t enable them!  Call on Cascade Pest Control to clear your home of rodents and create an effective rodent control plan to protect your home from them.

Cascade’s rodent control technicians have extensive experience and expertise on rats, mice and other rodents.  We also know the damage rats and mice can do — to cars, stored items, food, house insulation, electrical wiring and more.  Cascade Pest Control has rodent control plans for ongoing rat, mice, and other rodent infestations – as well as rodent proofing expertise.

Contact Cascade Pest Control for rat, mice or rodent control today. Cascade Pest Control serves Tacoma, Greater Seattle, Bellevue and the Eastside, Everett, Skagit & Island counties, and Bellingham.

Western Washington 1-888 (989) 8979

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