While they might look cute and cuddly, rodents are definitely not on the list of guests you want in your home. Not only can they use their sharp teeth to create a tremendous amount of damage, but some tend to be carriers for diseases that are harmful to humans and our household pets.
That said, it is important to have a clear understanding of the different types of creatures that live in our area. From common ones like pack rats to the large North American beaver, we’ve compiled a list of the species you’ll want to easily recognize. In no particular order, here is a list of the top eight largest rodents in Arizona.
1. Roof Rat
As one of the larger rat species native to the Grand Canyon State, the roof rat is one of the more prominent dwellers of the larger metro areas. It has a hairless tail and can grow to become up to eighteen inches long.
Also referred to as a black rat due to the rodent’s distinct coloring, you might spot one of them around your vegetation or woodpile. Additionally, they are common dwellers in storage sheds and attics where they can find food and nest material easily.
2. North American Beaver
When it comes to this list of rodents of unusual size, the North American Beaver certainly takes the crown for the absolute largest in the state. Typically, the adult species can weigh up to a whopping seventy pounds, which is far bigger than any of the other critters we’ve mentioned here.
The good news? You really aren’t likely to encounter a North American Beaver unless you live in a mountainous area near a stream or lake, such as up near Show Low or Pinetop-Lakeside. But it is still fun to know that they live in Arizona, even if you’re not too likely to spot one in everyday life.
3. Norway Rat
Just about every pest control technician in Arizona is familiar with the Norway rat. These common rodents often find their way into homes, including in areas like attics and walls. They’re notorious for causing sheetrock damage and contaminating these spaces with feces.
And they aren’t small, either. Norway rats can grow to be up to a foot long and weigh over a pound. So, if you feel like you’re dealing with a larger than expected rodent inside your home or business, it just might be one of these guys.
4. Deer Mouse
In more rural areas of Arizona, you’ll find the deer mouse. While this little guy is definitely small, cute, and cuddly, you’ll want to stay away. These rodents get their big warning from the fact that they are known carriers of the hantavirus.
Humans can become infected by breathing in particles that are tainted by urine, feces, or saliva of deer mice with the disease. This is why it is always good to wear a face covering when dealing with the cleanup associated with having a mouse in the house, as you never know when it might be a deer mouse.
5. Pack Rat
Ah, the pack rat. The good old nemesis of anyone who has ever parked a vehicle outdoors in the desert. As one of the more common rodent species in central and southern parts of the state, they are unique in that they have fur covering their tails. They can also grow up to six or eight inches long, too.
Pack rats are known scavengers who will find and use any opportunity to make a nest — even in the engine compartment of a vehicle sitting just for a few hours! They are notorious chewers who will eat through electrical wiring, building materials, and more. What’s worse? They line their nests with feces and urine, which poses a health risk to humans.
6. Rock Squirrel
If you’ve ever noticed those cute, fluffy rodents in your neighborhood or at a local park, you’re probably looking at a rock squirrel. More common to areas where humans gather, they feature a bushy tail extending from their bodies, which can grow up to nearly a foot long.
Instead of feeding them treats, you’ll want to step away. Rock squirrels are known carriers of the bubonic plague and can cause a significant amount of damage to your home, yard, and trees. Worst of all, they pose a threat to small dogs and other household pets if they happen to bite.
7. Kangaroo Rat
Of all the rodents in the desert, the kangaroo rat is probably the cutest and most docile. These little guys are about the size of a deer mouse, but they have bigger eyes. And, we can’t forget to mention the adorable little pouched cheeks that they use for holding seeds.
While any rodent can pose a damage threat to your property, kangaroo rats are the least likely. They mainly eat seeds and nuts, making your living room walls less of a tempting treat. Furthermore, they’re often included on the at-risk species list, which means getting rid of them takes an extra amount of care.
8. House Mouse
Finally, there’s the house mouse. Common just about anywhere in the world where people live, these critters wholly depend on humans for food and shelter. You can pretty much consider them stowaways from European settlers hundreds of years ago, as you wouldn’t find them out in the desert on their own.
House mice are small and only eat a fraction of an ounce per day. But they can excrete a large number of droppings, which is what you might find in your pantry, attic, or garage. Nevertheless, house mice can be a nuisance, which means it might be a good time to set a trap or call a professional if you notice feces.
Rabbits Are Not Rodents
Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not considered rodents. By scientific classification, the rabbit has four incisors versus the typical rat, mouse, or squirrel’s two. In fact, they are members of the Lagomorpha classification instead.
That said, it isn’t to say that rabbits don’t pose a problem when they use your property as their primary residence. Those cute and fluffy bunnies or larger-than-life jackrabbits can easily cause damage to lawns, flowerbeds, and more. Plus, it is never a good thing when the family dog accidentally disturbs a nest of babies. Thus, it is a good idea to have them removed when they get a little too close on your property.
Other Pesky Critters
Of course, rodents aren’t the only other pesky critters you’ll run into when living in the desert. Javelina, rattlesnakes, and a wide variety of lizards can often take up residence on your property. Even a rogue tarantula or a rare gila monster can catch you by surprise when you least expect it.
And, while it might be okay to leave some alone, it is usually best to call in an expert if these creatures are causing damage to your home or if they are getting too comfortable around humans. After all, you don’t want your family members or pets to become injured during an interaction or any property becoming damaged.
Wrap Up: Arizona’s Largest Rodents
From the North American beaver to the house mouse, Arizona is home to some interesting rodents. However, almost all of them pose a significant damage and health risk to Valley residents.
To help keep them from being a problem, it is important to have regular visits from our team at Buzz Tech AZ Rodent Removal. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment or to have our team of experts help you identify any rodents living in or around your home.