added. Although their vision is not as well-developed as in humans, house mice can
identify objects at least 45 feet away.
(3) Smell. Rats and mice have a keen sense of smell. However, little
detailed information is available on how this sense of smell governs their activities. Of
course, rats and mice readily follow rodent body odor, especially that of the opposite
sex. There is little need to worry much about the odor of man on traps or baits. After
all, rats and mice live so close to man that his odor is an everyday experience to them.
(4) Taste. Generally, the sense of taste in rats and mice is not as highly
developed as in man. Where poisonous materials are not involved, a good rule of
thumb is that if man will accept the material, the rodents also will. However, if poison in
a bait makes them sick, they soon become "bait shy" for this material----not because
they recognize the poison, but because the bait mix made them sick. Some field men
believe that rodents eat decayed food only if they have no other food and not because
they are unable to taste it. For that reason, experienced workers will insist on fresh bait
and often will add a preservative to baits that are likely to decay.
(5) Hearing. Rats and mice can recognize noises readily and can locate
them to within six inches. Loud noises cause them to try vigorously to escape. Since
many of their activities are carried out in darkness, hearing is of great importance to
(6) Balance. Rats and mice have an excellent sense of balance. This can
be shown easily by tossing one into the air. Almost invariably it will land on its feet.
This sense develops very early, and newborn young can right themselves. It should be
remembered that rats and mice sometimes can fall five stories without being injured.
Section III. FIELD IDENTIFICATION
a. In order to effectively control rodents, one must first be able to identify the
particular rodent in question. Therefore, a basic key to identification of commonly found
rodents is offered in this section.
b. The initial starting point of rodent identification is to place the animal in proper
c. The basic taxonomy of rodents is shown below: