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 3 feet and an impressive 4 feet horizontally.
  • They can drop from a height of 50 feet and still survive unscathed.
  • Their flexible skulls permit them to fit and squeeze through holes only ½ an inch in diameter.
  • They can gnaw and chew on anything softer than their teeth, as this files down their constantly growing incisors. Common materials of choice include plywood, aluminum, and sometimes certain types of concrete.
  • Rats can climb straight up vertical, textured surfaces, and they can even work their way up smoother ones, such as pipes. They are able to shimmy up and down in between spaces of one structure and another, as well.
  • Rats can scurry along power and cable lines due to their heightened sense of balance. This allows them areal access to your home as well when combined with their jumping abilities.
  • The Norway rat variety can burrow down up to 4 feet, making substructures vulnerable and it harder to notice the rats’ presence.
  • Rats can even appear in your toilet on occasion due to their capability to swim up to half a mile and maneuver through plumbing traps and sewer lines.
  • Rat breeding can occur rapidly and further complicate and worsen an existing condition. Under ideal conditions, one pair of rats can create thousands of offspring in only one year.
  • Rats are “commensal,” meaning they do particularly well and thrive around human populations.


Mice are notably smaller than rats, and therefore cannot leap, fall, or swim as far as rats can. This size difference makes up for itself in numerous other pesky ways, however, as they are still a formidable annoyance.

  • Mice usually present in greater numbers due to their smaller size, allowing them to multiply even more rapidly than rats.
  • A hole or gap the width of a pencil is all a mouse needs to be able to squeeze through and invade your space.
  • They can scale any surface that is mildly textured, and they can balance themselves on virtually any width of wire or twig.
  • House mice thrive around human populations, making them especially dangerous to residential areas.
  • Deer mice are the most abundant in the suburban Puget Sound region, and can develop into large populations in the wilderness or in suburban areas. They can carry the sometimes deadly hantavirus, which has been transmitted to humans and proved fatal in 2015 and 2016.

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. We service Redmond, Tacoma, Seattle / Puget Sound, Bellevue and the Eastside, Everett, Skagit & Island counties, and Bellingham.

Call us: 888-989-8979 or Request a Quote online

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