Identifying rats and other rodents found commonly in San Diego, Orange, and Temecula?

Before we focus directly on rat control, I thought it would be helpful to create a table, showcasing the most common rats and rodents found in Souther California. Click the link if you want to skip this and go directly to the portion of the article that talks about rat control.

House Mouse – Public Domain

House Mouse – The house mouse is a small mammal, characteristically having a pointed snout, small rounded ears, and a long naked or almost hairless tail. Although a wild animal, the house mouse mainly lives in association with humans.

Deer Mouse – Photo by 6th Happiness – Creative Commons

Deer Mouse – Deer Mice are distinguished by relatively larger eyes, and also often two-tone coloring, with darker colors over the back, and white abdominal and limb hair-coloring. They are also accomplished jumpers and runners by comparison to house mice, and their common name of “deer mouse” (coined in 1833) is in reference to this agility.

Deer Mice become notorious in the western United States as a carrier of hantaviruses.

Norway Rat – Photo by Snowmanradio – Creative Commons

Norway Rat – The brown rat, also referred to as the common rat, street rat, sewer rat, Hanover rat, Norway rat, Norwegian rat, or wharf rat is one of the best known and most common rats.

It is a brown or grey rodent with a body up to 10 in long, and a similar tail length; the male weighs on average 12 oz and the female 9 oz. Thought to have originated in northern China, this rodent has now spread to all continents except Antarctica, and is the dominant rat in Europe and much of North America. With rare exceptions, the brown rat lives wherever humans live, particularly in urban areas.

Roof Rat – Photo by Kilessan – Creative Commons

Roof Rat – The black rat, also known as the ship rat, roof rat, house rat, is a common long-tailed rodent. Black rats are generalist omnivores. They are serious pests to farmers as they eat a wide range of agricultural crops.

Roof Rat – Public Domain

Wood Rat – A pack rat or packrat, also called a woodrat, have a rat-like appearance with long tails, large ears and large black eyes. Compared to deer mice, harvest mice and grasshopper mice, pack rats are noticeably larger and are usually somewhat larger than cotton rats.

Soebeole – Photo by Soebe – Creative Commons

Vole – A vole is a small rodent; a relative of the mouse, the vole has a stouter body, a shorter, hairy tail, a slightly rounder head, smaller ears and eyes, and differently formed molars (high-crowned and with angular cusps instead of low-crowned and with rounded cusps). They are sometimes known as meadow mice or field mice in North America.

Shrew – Public Domain

Shrew – A shrew is a small mole-like mammal. Although its external appearance is generally that of a long-nosed mouse, a shrew is not a rodent, as mice are. It is in fact a much closer relative of hedgehogs and moles. Shrews have sharp, spike-like teeth, not the familiar gnawing front incisor teeth of rodents.

Mole – Photo by Didier Descouens – Creative Commons

Mole – They have cylindrical bodies, velvety fur, very small, inconspicuous ears and eyes, reduced hindlimbs and short, powerful forelimbs with large paws adapted for digging.

Gopher – Photo by Leonardo Weiss – Creative Commons

Gopher – Pocket gophers, commonly referred to as gophers, are burrowing rodents. There are about 35 species, all endemic to North and Central America. They are commonly known for their extensive tunneling activities.

Why is rat control so important?

Maintain Health 

Rat have the potential to carry and spread some pretty nasty diseases – Bubonic Plague, Hantavirus, Leptospirosis, Lyme Disease, Favus and more.

Protect Your Investments

Rats can cause considerable damage to walls, floors, your electrical wiring and insulation, appliances, all with the goal of getting to a new food source. If you don’t proactively manage the rat control on your property you run the risk of paying for some major repairs. It is just so much smarter to keep them away as much as possible.


Rats will leave their urine or feces anywhere, without preference. This means if they can get to your food, there is a high risk that your food can be contaminated by the rats excretions. You also run the risk of attractive other, worse predators, looking to hunt the rats.

The risks of doing your own rat control?

It is possible for you to DIY your home rat control. But doing so put you at risk of exposure to the many contaminates, diseases, viruses, and waste excretions, especially if you are not knowledgable in best safety and disposal practices.

And to be honest, you may do a partial job very well, but if you do not follow all the best rat control methods, you can be over run by new rat populations in weeks or months.

The benefits of allowing a pro handle your rat control?

Rodent proof your home.

Pros have the resources and tools to not only trap and dispose of your rat problem, but they can also have the experience to do a thorough inspection of your home so identify problems areas and access points to your home. Experience pros can do the needed alterations to your home that will prevent rats and rodents from invading in the first place. Pros also know how to manage proper clean up methods so your family is safe from exposure after the rats are eradicated.

Setting traps inside the home.

Rats can be pretty crafty, and setting up traps just anywhere may not work well. Pros can assess the best places to set indoor snap traps, and can create trapping spaces that are protected against accident disruption by family pets and young children.

Setting bait traps outside your home.

Wildlife Removal professionals can also assess your outdoor property and devise a strategy to trap any rats or rodents that live on your property. Additionally they have the knowledge and skill to make alterations to fences to keep those pesky rats from tunneling under fences.

Eliminate the rat habitat.

Once all the rats have been eradicated, its time to eliminate any potential living spaces that might attract those rats. Wood piles, yard items, backyard sheds, are all locations a rat infestation could occur.

Call the pros.

While we‘ve include a good amount of advice and tips so you can start protecting your home from rodent invasions, for some, the best course of action is to call the professionals. Professional service providers already have all the materials needed and the experience to protect your home in an effective manner.

About Wildlife Removal Services

Offering humane wildlife removal services to San Diego, Orange, and Temecula counties.

With over 9 years of experience Wildlife Removal Services should be your first choice when calling a Wildlife Removal Specialist.

We also handle a full array of pest control services:

You can contact Wildlife Removal Services directly, Click or Call:

San Diego – 619-786-6440 Temecula – 951-296-0286 Orange County – 714-421-4793