Rats and mice can transmit diseases to humans, and their excreta can contaminate food and utensils. They can also damage buildings by gnawing conduits and wiring.
Council doesn't provide rat or mice removal services, however, we do offer advice on how to deal with rodents on your property.
Characteristics of rats
There are two common types of rats in Australia — the roof rat and the Norway rat.
Rattus rattus - also known as roof rat, black rat, tree rat, ship rat or European black rat - has:
- large ears and eyes
- pointed nose
- heavy set body
- a tail longer than its body.
Rattus norvegicus - also known as Norway rat, brown rat, sewer rat, laboratory rat or white rat - has:
- small ears and eyes
- blunt nose
- heavy set body
- a tail shorter than its body.
Characteristics of mice
Mus musculus - also known as the house mouse - has:
- one pair of distinctive chisel-shaped incisors with hard yellow enamel on the front surfaces
- bulging eyes in a small head
- large rounded ears
- brownish-grey above, white to grey or pale yellow below; soft dense fur to 7mm long
- scaly tail, about the same length as its body - 75-100mm
- 60-100mm in size.
How to identify rodent activity
Rats and mice can live and nest within buildings indefinitely, provided they have access to food and water. They are most active at night.
The following signs indicate rodent activity:
- Droppings: found near shelters or nests, feeding areas or travel paths.
- Travel paths: greasy markings found on surfaces in continual contact with dirty rodent fur.
- Burrows: found in creek banks, along walls, under buildings, in stacked materials and in roof insulation.
- Gnawing: rodents gnaw a wide variety of material including woodwork, electrical cables and food containers.
- Noise: scratching, fighting, squeaking, clawing and gnawing often heard during the night in walls, cupboards, ceilings and under floors.
How to deter or remove rodents
Rats and mice will always have a presence in urban areas, however, you can make your property less appealing for them.
Being creatures of habit, rats and mice travel the same routes to food sources, which can assist you in knowing where to remove any food and where to put baits or traps.
Steps you can take to prevent or deter rodents from your property include:
- Using chemical baits in your roof, but avoid using baits in open areas or under the house where pets or native animals can find them.
- Setting traps inside your house.
- Don't leave exposed food on benches, shelves and in cupboards.
- Sealing gaps and holes under eaves, roof tiles and in external walls — mice can squeeze through very small gaps.
- Keeping trees and vines away from your house.
- Don't compost meat scraps.
- Keeping pet food dishes clean and securely storing bulk pet food.
- Removing fruit and nuts from trees or vines at the end of the season.
- Keeping your garden well maintained and the grass mowed to reduce places for rodents to pass through or live on your property.
- Storing firewood away from the sides of sheds and fences, and keep it above the ground.
If you need further assistance to remove rats or mice from your property, we recommend you contact a licensed pest controller.
Rats or mice on neighbouring properties
If you notice rats or mice coming from a neighbouring property, and there are places for rats or mice to live on the property (for example, piled rubbish or overgrown grass), we recommend you first speak to the owner of the property and direct them to this page for information.
This is usually the most effective way to resolve the situation. The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria has some good advice on how to approach your neighbour.
If the property owner doesn't organise to remove the mice or rats, you can contact Council.
If you notice evidence of rats or mice in a food premises in Boroondara, you can make a complaint about a food premises.