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Feral Cats

Mammal: Felis Silvestris

 

Characteristics

These cats look very much like a larger version of a domestic tabby cat, which was thought to have derived from the wildcat.
They are covered in dark brown stripes and possess a thick tail with a blunt end. The tail is banded with dark rings.
Feral cat means the cat was domesticated and becomes wild, living by scavenging and hunting.  Feral cats often come out at night in large groups.
Feral cats can transmit diseases to humans, this is rare.
The fleas that feral cats continually have are not rare and can bite humans and cause a further pest in the home.
Feral cats can contaminate food stuffs by urinating, 'marking their territory'. This smell can be very acrid and unpleasant.
One of the reasons to control feral cat activity is to stop them giving diseases, fleas etc. to domestic cats in the area.

Habitat & History

There are three main causes for the development of feral cats :

  1. Female cats that become abandoned will find a welcome in a feral cat colony and openly breed.
  2. Kittens are often taken from litters without knowing the cost and effort involved in looking after a lively kitten and they often disappear and no one is interested in finding them.
  3. Families who move home often don't take the time to help the cat get used to new surroundings - so it always goes back 'home' and has no owner to take responsibility for it.

Cat lovers often put food out of an evening for their 'adopted' visitors, this tends to lead to a pattern as the cats will come back regularly to eat.
Feral cats will often live by their most available form of food.

Control/Treatment

There are two basic methods of control:

  1. Trapping the cats and having them neutered and returned to their colony.
  2. Trapping the cats and having them humanely killed

Cats are becoming more of a pest in the built up areas we live in.
Often they can revert from household pets into wild, scavenging animals by irresponsible owners leaving them to fend for themselves.
Because cat control is a sensitive subject with animal lovers it would only be attempted after in depth discussions with the customer.
A site survey would be carried out over a period of time to assess the problem and which would be the best solution for the customer.

 

 


 

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Mouse

Mammal: Mus Domesticus

 

Characteristics

The House Mouse is smaller than common Rats. The tail is about the same size as the body and the mouse can grow up to 10cm long. they are normally grey or brown and live indoors. They can be found in homes, commercial premises and all types of warehouses etc.
Mice prefer cereals and grain in their diet, they can eat up to 3g's of food per day. They can live without water for long periods. Mice often live on the ground but can burrow and climb.

Habitat & History

Mice carry salmonella bacteria that cause typhoid like infections in the intestine. Mice probably cause food poisoning more often than bad hygiene.
Mice can cause damage in houses and commercial premises just by gnawing at anything in their way. They have good eyesight and sensitive whiskers, they will often stay in the same area and know every inch of it.In good conditions mice can have litters of up to 16 and have up to 8 litters per week. They can reproduce from the age of 8 weeks old.

Control / Treatment

  • Trapping
  • Rodenticides
  • Proofing

 


 

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Rat

Mammal: Rattus Norvegicus

 

Characteristics

The most common brown Rat is distinctive by body size, it's snout, ears and the fact that it's tail length is not in proportion to it's body. It has a blunt snout, thick body hair, small hairy ears and the tail is shorter than the head and body with a pale underside. These Rats are normally found everywhere, buildings, sewers and outdoor spaces.
Rats carry a fatal disease commonly called Weil's Disease. This is spread through rat urine. Up to 30% of British rats carry this disease. Rats also carry a deadly minute roundworm, the plague and lice. They too can carry salmonella.
Rats have very adept senses, they can move freely in complete darkness, their sense of smell, and their whiskers guide them to food.

Habitat & History

Brown rats are omnivorous but prefer starch and protein-rich foods, such as cereals. Their diet includes meat, fish, vegetables, weeds, earthworms, crustaceans, nuts and fruit. They sometimes cache food to return to later.
in good conditions this species can breed continually through the year. They can breed from the age of 12 weeks, which results in rapid increase of young, healthy rats. They can have litters of 8 and breed up to 6 times in a year.
Despite bad press, Rats are very clean mammals; even though they live in very dirty surroundings they can spend a quarter of their lifespan cleaning themselves.

Control / Treatment

  • Rodenticides
  • Trapping
  • Proofing

 


 

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Mole

Mammal: Talpa Europaea

Characteristics

European moles have black, velvety fur and a rounded body. Their front limbs are spade-like with sharp claws, and their hind limbs are small and underdeveloped. They have a pink pointed snout, small eyes and a short furry tail.
Moles mainly feed on earthworms, but they also eat a variety of other invertebrates, as well as snakes and lizards.

Habitat & History

Moles live throughout mainland Britain wherever soil is deep enough for tunnelling. They inhabit deciduous woodland, grassland and farmland. Moles live underground in tunnels within the soil. They dig actively and can create 20m of tunnel per day. Large chambers are lined with dry grass, and are used for nesting during periods of rest. They leave characteristic mounds of earth behind as they excavate their tunnels (molehills).They can live for up to three years.

 

Control / Treatment

  • Gassing
  • Trapping