Snow can help rodent control two ways-both related to tracking. Not a lot of benefits from snow fall, except skiing, and tracking animals. Two ways to use snow for rodent control is first identifying the type of rodent and second where it is going. These rat tracks are near the back of a dumpster. The tracks lead between the ornamental grasses and the stockade fence around the dumpster.
Mice versus rat tracks
First, look at the size of the track. This photo is clearly a rat because of the size of the tracks. These tracks are close to an inch across, where a mouse track is a third of the size or 3/8″ of an inch. Next, look for a tail, here you can see the clear line of a tail dragging in the snow. Mice tail marks rarely show up as clearly. Mice tend to spring through the snow, leading to large lines behind the rear legs, similar to rabbit tracks. The path led directly to the burrows hidden beneath a plant at the edge of the fence visible in the next photo. After fresh snow is the best time to look around the outside of any account that has rodent issues to follow those tracks directly to the entry points or burrow system.
Burrows and entry points
Tracks are like arrows pointing to where to look. Start by planning to look after a snow event. For instance, the best type of tracking snow is a lighter snowfall event with dry snow. Any snow will do to tell direction the animal is moving and where it is moving to and from. This information is invaluable to helping discover patterns of activity. In the case of the rat tracks above the tracks went right by an existing rodent bait station.
Next, look for water sources near the tracks. Rats need a water source every day, where mice do not because they get water from the food they eat. With a burrow system there will be tracks to a water source, unless the burrow connects to an underground water source like a sewer.
Mice tracks around the outside of a house can be used to find entry points into the home. First look at the snow around the foundation wall to see where tracks are evident. These tracks will cluster near the point the mouse is climbing the foundation wall. Above the track cluster will be an entry point. Finally, look for tracks that disappear under attached parts of the house you cannot get under. These areas will need special attention or creativity. Examples are low decks, porches or attached sheds without foundations.
Take advantage of fresh fallen snow to look for animal tracks. Inside an attic or basement, use dust like snow to find tracks to use as arrows of activity. Then follow those tracks to a successful rodent control plan. Set up your inspection today.