Drought Drives Rodents into Homes

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Knoxville (WVLT) - This drought we've been in can attract rodents to your home.

It's true. Experts say the drought affects all wild animals' food and water source.

It drives rodents such as snakes, rats and mice out of their natural habitats, and unfortunately, into your home.

"In East Tennessee, primarily we deal with a house mouse and with a Norway rat,” say zoologist Paul Osborne.

Rats and mice, not something you want to think about wandering around your home.

"The Norway rat is fairly large. It's also called the farm rat. It's got a bulky body, fairly large, can grow well over a pound,” Osborne says.

And then there's the much smaller mouse, more likely to find a way inside.

"A mouse can squeeze through anything larger than this. Anything it can get its skull through, it can squeeze the rest of its body through,” soologist and "All Creatures Animal Solutions" exterminator Paul Osborne warns, "The snakes follow the mice in, so these problems interrelate.”

Once rodents make their way inside, Osborne says they do quite a bit of damage. "They start chewing through and chewing on anything around them. It starts getting dangerous when they start chewing into electrical things."

Osborne recommends you walk around and inspect your house for any water leaks or holes bigger than a quarter inch. "You'll find holes all around your foundation, your foundation vents." 36:51 "Make sure everything is very well-sealed with caulk, with foam, with wood trim."

If you want to set your own mouse traps and you're wondering what bait to use, experts say good old fashioned peanut butter is the best thing.

"They sell all kinds of specialized, but good ol' peanut butter.” Osborne says using poison should be a last resort, "If you deal with poison, you have a whole new problem sometimes to deal with, and that they stink."

If you can't catch the rodents on your own with traps or you just don't want to deal with them, that's when you can call an exterminator who will first do a house inspection and then begin sealing and trapping.

It's something you want to take care of, before they get out of hand.