Do Rodents Have Good Vision?

You’ve probably heard that rodents don’t have very good vision. That’s true; their sense of touch and their sense of smell is much more highly developed. But how does that information help when it comes to rodent control, does it even matter? Yes, it does.

Rodents can see (they aren’t totally blind) and do discern objects and some colors. However, they are not attracted to certain colors like flies are. They do prefer dark areas to brightly lit areas. This means they are going to stay in the dark corners, the edges, the shadowy spots whenever they can. Rodents are mostly nocturnal so they are most comfortable at night, in the dim spots. Many businesses and urban areas are fairly well lit at night so they will still stick to the shadows. When dealing with difficult rodent situations, it’s often helpful to inspect at night to see where those shadows are that you can’t see during the day. A bait station sitting directly under a building light probably won’t get as many visits as a bait station around the back of a site behind a dumpster. As Darth Vader said: “Come to the dark side”. That’s where the rodents are.

Rodents like dark places

Since their sight isn’t great, they rely on muscle memory to get them where they need to go. You hear all the time about finding their “pathways”. Rodents will continually use the same path over and over again because they know it. When you get out of bed in the middle of the night to get a drink of water, can you find your way to the kitchen and get the glass? Sure, because you have done it again and again and again so you can do it without thinking. Same thing happens for rodents. They don’t even think about running from their burrow, along the side of the building, to the dumpster in the back. As PMP’s, we can use this to put bait stations or traps in their runway.

Rodent runway with sebum
Pre-baiting with a food substance can establish trust

Rodents use their sense of smell in many ways. However, a big one is to locate food. They don’t depend on their eyesight to see the food, they follow their nose. This is why it’s important to bait traps with a good smelling food source. Some PMP’s will even pre-bait their bait stations before switching to rodenticide. This means the rodents get used to going there (establish trails and muscle memory) and are rewarded with a good morsel of something yummy.

Another way to ensure “good” smells from a bait station is to use a station that is designed to blend in with the environmental smells. The EZ Secured has a specially produced concrete block that quickly absorbs the scents when placed on dirt or ground, or blends in perfectly with the concrete already around a commercial facility. It basically makes the station more invisible and lets the food smells speak for itself.

EZ Secured

So even though rodents can’t see very well, we as pest management professionals can still use that to our advantage. We can trick their tactile sense and scam their sense of smell to trap them. The faster this can be done, the less you have to revisit the accounts (for the rodent issue at least) and happier customers. Learn more about these and other rodent control products by clicking here.

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