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Rats in Colorado: Types, Facts, and Tips for Homeowners

rat on the ground

If you live in a big city like New York, you are likely all too familiar with rats, but you can find them anywhere else in America, including Colorado. In fact, you’ll find more than one variety in this scenic state, so keep reading as we list the different kinds of rats, as well as other rodents that you can expect to find. We also provide several tips for homeowners to help you keep problems to a minimum.

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Most Common Types of Rat in Colorado

1. Brown Rat

brown rat eating sunflower seeds
Image By: Gerhard, Pixabay

Brown rats are the most common type of rat in America and worldwide. It’s the kind that you are likely to find in New York City. Most are 11 inches long from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail, and their tail can be just as long. They are intelligent rodents and fast breeders, often having litters of seven to 14 that become sexually mature after just 5 weeks, so they can be difficult to control. A single adult pair can produce up to 15,000 rats in 1 year. They are neophobic, which means they are afraid of new things, so they will avoid traps and other control measures and will usually stay within 65 feet of their birthplace their entire life.

2. Pack Rats

Pack Rat near stainless steel food tray
Image By: JayPierstorff, Shutterstock

Pack rats are a common rat in Colorado. It has several other names, including the wood rat. These rodents are smaller than brown rats and average about 15 inches in length. As their name suggests, they tend to hoard things in a home called a midden. They hide anything that they like here, and if you locate one, you will probably find sticks, rocks, plants, urine, feces, and shiny things. Scientists and archeologists can use middens to learn about the climate, since these act as mini-time capsules that can date back thousands of years and contain the flora of the time. Pack rats are easier to control because they easily fall into traps.

3. Ord’s Kangaroo Rat

Ord’s kangaroo rats are different from most other rats that you will encounter. These rodents prefer to eat grass seed and typically don’t come around humans much. You can sometimes see them hopping through the field at night, much like a kangaroo in search of food, which is where it gets its name.

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Other Rodents in Colorado

Deer Mouse

deer mouse on a rock
Image By: jitkagold, Shutterstock

The deer mouse is the most common mammal in North America, and you can find it easily in Colorado. It’s small and will eat just about anything, but it usually prefers seeds. It’s a primary food source for many animals, from owls to coyotes.

Grasshopper Mouse

close up Northern Grasshopper Mouse
Image By: Liz Weber, Shutterstock

The grasshopper mouse is a rare meat-eating variety that will even attack other mice for food. It’s larger than other mice but not as big as a rat at about 5 inches long. It stalks its prey by scent and typically eats worms, lizards, and insects.

Meadow Vole

a meadow vole
Image Credit: David Havel, Shutterstock

The meadow vole is a slim mouse with a long tail. The eyes and ears are small and can be hard to see, and it spends most of its time hidden in underground burrows. It enjoys moist environments and is an important food source for many animals.

divider 4 How Did Brown Rats Get to Colorado?

Brown rats are not native to America and likely came on shipping boats from China many years ago. In the early 2000s, they were only in a few metropolitan areas in Colorado, but now you can find them in larger numbers all across the state. They likely originally arrived in Colorado the same way that they arrived in America, in shipping containers.

How Can I Prevent Rats From Coming to My Home?

  • Keep your food items, especially dry cereal, and flowers, in metal or glass containers with tight lids.
  • Keep tight-fitting lids on your garbage cans.
  • Don’t use organic food waste in a compost heap.
  • Keep clutter to a minimum, indoors and out.
  • If you suspect an infestation, call an exterminator immediately.

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Fortunately, there aren’t too many kinds of rats in Colorado, but the pesky brown rat is ever present, and its numbers are on the rise. Since they are so hard to control, we recommend calling an exterminator as soon as you detect the presence of one. Pack rats are much easier to control, and you can usually trap them using shiny objects as bait and move them to another location. You are unlikely to have any problems with the Ord’s kangaroo rat, as they usually stay out in the fields.

Featured Image Credit: ivabalk, Pixabay


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