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What are the different species of rodents found in Canada?

There are many species of rodents that inhabit the immense territory covered by Canada. These rodents naturally share many characteristics such as long incisors, but each species has its own unique behaviours and physical appearance.

These animals can pose a danger to humans since they often carry diseases. This is why it is important to be able to tell the different species of rodents found in Canada apart. For example, if you have an infestation, knowing which rodent has taken up residence in your home is crucial if you want to implement a safe and effective pest control plan.

Our extermination specialists have prepared a special guide to help you quickly identify Canadian rodents. Find out the main species you may encounter in your home below.

Rat species found in Canada

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Rats are larger than mice (they can weigh as much as 0.5 kg [1 lb]) and have a habit of occupying attics or hiding under the concrete, porches and inside the walls of a building. They are a serious health risk since they can transmit many diseases and bring virus-carrying parasites like fleas, ticks and lice into your home.

They are mostly omnivorous and will sneak into buildings in search of food and warmth. They often cause damage to electrical wiring, pipes and insulating materials.

If you believe that one of the following varieties of rats has taken up residence in your home, you should get assistance from rat exterminators, especially since they can reproduce extremely rapidly. Rats can have 3 to 12 litters of an average of 9 pups per year.

Roof rat (also called black rat)

Roof rats are characteristically dark brown, smaller in size and have ears towards the back. They instinctively detect traps that are set for them with ease. They can measure between 33 and 46 cm (13 and 18 inches) in length. This variety of rat is most common along the coast of British Columbia.

Norway rat (also called brown rat and sewer rat)

Norway rats look a lot like roof rats but have different habits. They prefer damp places such as bathrooms and like to build tunnels and burrows at ground level. The Norway rat can grow up to 68 cm (27 inches) in length and is found in most urban areas in Canada.

Mouse species found in Canada

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Mice are known to invade homes in search of food, warmth and water. They reproduce extremely fast, being able to birth 200 offspring in only 4 months.

Since they are nocturnal, you may not suspect their presence unless you hear suspicious noises. However, they can cause significant damage to property, especially when building their nests. For instance, you may hear mice scurrying through walls looking for places to colonize.

Mice also pose a danger to humans since they can contaminate food and transmit diseases such as hantavirus through their feces and saliva. This is why a mouse extermination service is required when mice infest a residence.

House mouse (also called grey mouse and common mouse)

House mice do not hibernate and are active all year round. They can be identified by their pointed snout, large hairy ears and greyish hair. They also have scales on their tails.

They are generally between 7 and 10 cm (3 and 4 inches) long and weigh between 15 and 30 grams as adults.

Field mouse

Field mice are seldom found in houses. This species prefers sheds and backyards where fruits and vegetables are stored. They like to eat tree seeds, insects and legumes. This makes them a greater threat to farmers than to people living in their homes.

You can identify them by the yellowish hairs on their belly and the brown fur on their back.

Deer mouse

This mouse species has brown fur on top and white on the legs and belly. Its bushy tail also makes it particularly well known to health inspectors.

The deer mouse is the most common carrier of the deadly hantavirus. It tends to build nests in trees and under logs and enters houses in winter to find shelter, usually via the attic.

Squirrel species found in Canada

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Squirrels are extremely agile animals that can be extremely resourceful in their search for food and warmth. This is why these rodents will often sneak into attics and roofs instead of staying in trees.

Like rats and mice, they can carry diseases and cause significant property damage. A squirrel extermination service is therefore recommended when a squirrel settles on a property.

Grey squirrel

Grey squirrels are common in urban areas such as Montreal. They are the most likely to settle in the attic of your home. They are identifiable by their plumed tail, which is much bushier than that of other varieties of squirrels.

Despite their name, grey squirrels are often black or reddish-brown in color.

American red squirrel

The American red squirrel is mostly found in the wild. It has a white coat on its belly and a red coat on its back and tail. A thin strip of black fur separates the two colors.

It has a much less bushy tail which sets it apart from the grey squirrel.

Eastern chipmunk

The small and agile eastern chipmunk is found in most wooded areas of Canada. It can be easily identified by the light and dark stripes on its back and head.

Most chipmunks build tunnels and rooms in the ground, which makes this rodent quite a nuisance when it settles on a property.

The groundhog: a species found throughout Canada

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Sometimes referred to as the “whistlepig”, the groundhog is the largest rodent in North America after the beaver and porcupine. The groundhog has a flat head, weighs between (4 and 9 lbs.) and measures 40 to 65 cm (18 to 26 inches) in total length, including its short bushy tail of about 15 cm (6 inches). Its fur can vary from a yellowish brown to a dark reddish brown.

As a burrowing animal, its front legs are very powerful and equipped with strong claws allowing it to dig impressive tunnel networks and burrows. The groundhog can cause significant property damage when it takes up residence in populated areas.

The beaver: the largest rodent in Canada

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After the South American capybara, the beaver is the largest rodent in the world. An adult beaver can measure up to 1.3 m (51 inches) counting the tail and weigh up to 45 kg (100 lbs). Even more agile in the water than on land, it has a stocky body and a muscular tail covered with tough scales.

This species, which is also one of Canada’s national symbols, is known to cause significant damage to property since it readily cuts down trees to build its hut and feed its family. Moreover, beaver dams alter the course of rivers and streams and can cause flooding.

The porcupine: Canada’s lonely rodent

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The porcupine is one of Canada’s best-known mammals, but few people know that it is part of the large family of rodents. Rather, its 30,000 quills are what makes it famous. It lives mainly in forests, where it can climb trees and feed on the inner bark.

Adult males reach an average weight of 5.5 kg (12 lbs) after 6 years and females reach an average weight of 4.5 kg (10 lbs). Total length averages from 68 cm to 100 cm (27 to 39 inches).

Although they rarely venture into urban areas, these rodents can be dangerous to pets that might be tempted to approach them.

Call an exterminator in Quebec for a rodent invasion

Although the popular techniques of traps and poisons can be used if you see a rodent on your property or in your home, these devices are rarely effective in the event of an infestation. Furthermore, there are strict regulations for capturing wild animals.

We strongly recommend contacting an extermination company that has the right solutions to get rid of them. If you think that you are facing a rodent invasion on your property, in your home or business, please contact our team of extermination specialists.