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Photo by Jared Belson




  • Many rodents are small, but the size varies depending on the species

  • Have enlarged, chisel-shaped upper and lower front incisors that grow throughout their lives

  • Hard enamel on the front surface and soft dentine on the back surface of teeth, making the chisel edge sharp

  • Gap between the front teeth and the cheek teeth

  • Rodents have fur

  • Have either a long, skinny tail or a very small, not visible tail

  • Nocturnal


  • Plants

  • Vegetables

  • Fruits

  • Grass

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Insects

  • Meat

  • Meal preference depends on the species of the rodent

examples of rat feces


  • Damages food and other goods

  • Established vectors because of their ability to carry viruses and bacteria in their systems and are known to carry and transmit disease

  • Ability to carry many different pathogens that transmit diseases including: plague, rat bite fever, cryptosporidiosis, hantavirus, Q-fever, and much more

  • Different species of rodents host different pathogens


  • Some pathogens can be transmitted through inhalation of contaminated feces, urine, or saliva from infected rodents

  • Do not stir up dust by sweeping or vacuuming up nesting materials, droppings, or urine

  • Wear rubber, vinyl, or latex gloves when handling rodents and their matters

  • Spray area with either a disinfectant or a mixture of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water and let contaminated area soak for 5 minutes

  • Use a paper towel to pick up disinfected droppings, urine, and nesting

  • Immediately dispose all matter in the garbage

  • When all rodent droppings and urine have been removed, disinfect all possible contaminated items

  • Traps may also be set to capture any possible rats or mice




  • Opossums are marsupial mammals

  • The female has a pouch, an elongated snout and a pink nose

  • Black eyes and ears

  • A long tail

  • Grey to black fur

  • A defined sagittal crest, meaning they have exceptionally strong jaw muscles

  • Consume both plants and animals

  • Immune to snake venom


  • Their habitats range from moist to dry climates

  • Their environment can be anything from woodsy to open fields; however, they prefer to be by swamps or streams

  • Opossums usually take up occupancy in the burrows of other animals, tree cavities, or brush piles as well as attics and garages

  • They can be seen on both tree limbs as well as on the ground


  • All green and yellow vegetables

  • Grasses

  • Most types of fruit

  • People food

  • Snails, slugs, and earthworms of all types

  • Insects, flies, roaches, etc.

  • Rats and mice

  • Snakes

  • Amphibians

  • Ground eggs

  • Crayfish and other fish

  • Certain types of dog and cat food

  • Dead animals

  • Small birds

  • Opossums consume almost anything they can find!

habitats that can attract opossums


  • Laws protecting opossums vary from state to state

  • It is advisable to contact your local wildlife authorities before removing nuisance animals

  • Traps may be available at your local animal control agency




  • Can weigh up to 14 lbs., depending on species

  • Length approximately between 33-46 cm (13-18 in) excluding the tail, which is another 18-25 cm (7-10 in)

  • Triangular heads

  • Large, bushy tails

  • Black fur with white stripes

  • Ability to secrete a liquid with a strong, foul odor when threatened

  • Before spraying, the skunk will give several warnings with its final warning standing on its front legs and its hind quarters in the air

  • If intruder does not back off, the skunk will proceed to squeeze its two anal glands together to secret the pungent scent against its threat


  • Skunks can be found in both rural and urban areas

  • Anywhere where water sources can be within 2 miles

  • Usually stay in range from their dens

  • Requires an ample supply of food and cover

  • Can adapt to many different habitats such as woods, grasslands, brush, open prairies, and developed areas

skunk walking in a field


  • Skunks are omnivorous, eating both plant and animal material, and their diets change as the seasons change

  • Insects and larvae

  • Earthworms

  • Grubs

  • Small rodents

  • Lizards, salamanders, and frogs

  • Snakes

  • Birds

  • Moles

  • Eggs

  • Berries and nuts

  • Roots, leaves, and grasses

  • Fungi

  • Human garbage


  • Skunks can be infested with ticks, fleas, lice, and mites, and are known  to transmit diseases such as rabies, canine distemper, roundworm, leptospirosis, histoplasmosis, tularemia, Q-fever, trypanosoma, salmonella, mange, distemper, listeriosis, and canine hepatitis among other transmitted diseases

  • Poisoning skunks is prohibited

  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife approval is required before trapping and relocating any wild animal

  • If you have a problem with these animals, call animal control or Ca Dept. of Fish and Wildlife for assistance

  • Once the animal is removed, flea control measures may be required to prevent infestations

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