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Why are Rodents So Social in Behaviour? – Terminix UK

Author: Simon Purchon

“Why aren’t rodents socially distancing?”

Sadly, neither mice nor rats have access to TVs, nor can they read newspapers to catch up with the recent Government announcements to ensure they comply with the anti COVID-19 measures.

In fact, both mice and rats are very social creatures by nature, much like us humans.  So when you find one there are likely to be many more.

So, what makes them so social?

They become attached to each other, love their own families, and easily bond with the social groups, returning as much affection as is given to them. This behaviour starts from an early age as baby mice and rats are completely helpless creatures. Both species are born blind and hairless.  With baby mice also not having their ears develop until they are about a week old, they are also born deaf.

While they mature rather quickly. Like all mammals, rodents nurse on their mother’s milk before moving to solid food (anything they can find). Rodents continue to be weaned for the first few weeks of their infancy.

While mice tend to stay in the same nest locations, families of rats can have multiple nest sites, moving between them depending on the availability of food and a good water source.  Unlike mice who take their required moisture content from food items, rats need to drink to survive, so access to water is crucial for rats.

These rodents normally travel up to 300 feet from the nest in search of food and water and to patrol their territory. However, if food and water dry up, they will venture much farther to get what they need.

So just how quickly can a nest become a big problem?



A typical female mouse can have between 5 and 10 litters per year. She can mate immediately after giving birth, meaning mice can have a second litter in as little as 25 days after the first. This cycle continues until the mouse dies. By that time, her offspring’s offspring have had a few litters, which are starting to breed so with each litter typically consisting of 5 or 6 mouse pups, (though it’s not rare to see as many as 12 in a litter). With each female mouse can produce nearly 300 baby mice over the course of her 2 to 3 year lifespan. Its very easy to see how quickly a nest can grow!


A female rat will have 6 to 10 babies at one time. They are born blind and without fur. The gestation period for rats is quite short – around 3 weeks. The young rats are weaned about 3 weeks later and are sexually mature at 3 months old. Rats tend to mate close to where they were born but will also move to new territory if the space is crowded or there is a shortage of available food.

Concerned you may have a rodent problem or simply want to reduce the risk of a nest becoming present?

Then contact Terminix for expert advice on solutions that will meet your needs.

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