Common Rodents in Massachusetts

Common Rodents in Massachusetts

Learn Some of the Most Common Rodents That Inhabit the State of Massachusetts and How Professional Rodent Control Can Keep Rodents Outside

Massachusetts is home to a diverse population of wildlife, including more than 80 different species of mammals. Of those, 15 species are considered common rodents in Massachusetts, with critters ranging from tiny mice and shrews to subterranean big brown rats and spiky porcupines.

All rodents potentially carry health risks and could damage buildings, structures, and properties. Homeowners and business owners who encounter rodents or an infestation are encouraged to contact the pest and nuisance wildlife technicians at Catseye Pest Control.

Our technicians have the technical know-how and training needed to careful handle rodents found throughout the New England area.


Mice are among the most common rodents across the country, with more than 70 species frequently invading homes, businesses, and properties.

In Massachusetts, the house mouse, deer mouse, and white-footed mouse are the biggest offenders. In addition to leaving messy droppings and chewing food packaging and structural elements, mice pose a possible health risk, as they could carry dozens of diseases.

Health risks associated with mice includes hantavirus, leptospirosis, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV).


Rats are common New England rodents, especially in MA.

Norway rats, sometimes called big brown rats, are originally from Asia but are typically found wherever people live. These rodents tend to have poor vision and are colorblind, but their other senses, including hearing, smell, touch, and taste are strong.

They frequently burrow in soil near riverbanks, woodpiles, under low-clearance areas like decks or sheds, in addition to other areas.

Like other rodents, Norway rats typically enter homes in the fall when outside food and water sources become scarce. And despite their size, these rodents can fit through a hole the size of a quarter, easily entering homes or businesses to nest.


Squirrels can be incredibly destructive to buildings and properties. These fluffy-tailed rodents often gain entry to homes and other structures by climbing branches or utility lines.

Once inside, they destroy insulation, build nests, gnaw wires, and pose a health hazard. Although there are hundreds of different species of squirrels, the most common types in MA are the eastern gray squirrel and the red squirrel.


Chipmunks are plentiful across the country, and the eastern chipmunk is one of the most common rodents in MA. Chipmunks thrive in rocky areas and spots with dense brush. Because they tend to burrow into the ground and under structures, these small rodents can do significant damage. They also carry parasites and love to steal birdseed from feeders.


Groundhogs and woodchucks are often mistakenly thought of as two different rodents, but they are one and the same.

The rodent typically measures anywhere from 16 to 27 inches long as adults. These stocky rodents have bushy tails and coats in varying shades, ranging from deep brown to gray, often with white tips that lend a silver appearance.

Groundhogs often burrow under structures, gnaw on power cables, and eat plants of all sorts from gardens and landscape beds. Their tunneling behavior poses the greatest damage for homeowners and businesses.

American Beavers

The American beaver plays a key role in ecosystems across the United States, including areas of MA, building dams, and creating habitats for various other wildlife.

Beavers are the largest rodents on the continent and one of the most common New England rodents. They weigh up to 71 pounds and measure 35 to 46 inches in length, on average. Because they reroute water, beavers often create flooding problems. They can also clog drainpipes.

brown beaver standing on a log in a body of water in Massachusetts


Moles can be quite destructive with tunneling habits. These rodents live almost exclusively underground and have a distinctive look with large, shovel-like front paws and webbed feet designed to make digging easier. Moles have hairless, scaled tails, pointed snouts, and fur in shades of brown, silver, or black.


People often confuse voles with moles, but voles actually look like stocky mice with rounder ears.

Voles eat plant matter, including tree bark, potentially causing limbs or entire trees to die. The rodent also eats roots, seedlings, bulbs, and more. Evidence of voles in outdoor spaces typically consists of shallow runways and damage to vegetation.


These small rodents are among the most common rodents found throughout MA. They have some similar characteristics to mice, but instead shrews have long snouts and sharp teeth. Shrews have grayish-brown fur, hairless tails, and they eat vegetation, worms, and insects.

These critters typically cause damage to vegetation and dig tunnels on properties. If shrews venture indoors, they can leave foul odors and potentially spread diseases.

North American Porcupines

The second largest rodent on the continent is the North American porcupine. This spiky critter measures an average of 23 to 36 inches and has black or brownish-yellow coloring.

Porcupines’ quills are part of their defense mechanisms, helping to protect against predators like coyotes and wolverines. In addition to posing a threat to pets and other wildlife, porcupines like to chew and have been known to gnaw on everything from houses and lumber to cars and plants. 

Common Muskrats

Beavers aren’t the only swimmers who build essential ecosystems. Muskrats are semi-aquatic rodents with scaled tails and dark brown fur. They are often mistakenly identified as a big gray rat or a member of one of the large rat breeds, but these rodents spend the bulk of their time in water, helping create habitats for waterfowl. Unfortunately, their burrowing habits can compromise levees and create flooding risks.

Tips to Prevent Rodents from Damaging Your Property

The only sure-fire way to prevent rodents from moving in and setting up shop in and on your property is with professional pest control, including routine monitoring and wildlife exclusion systems. Catseye uses Integrated Pest Management practices to identify the rodents, remove them, and keep them out using environmentally friendly approaches.

That’s the benefit of wildlife exclusion systems, also known as Cat-Guard. These chemical-free, all-natural barriers prevent rodents and other wildlife from entering protected areas for long-term protection. Other ways to prevent New England rodents from damaging homes, structures, and properties include:

  • Cleaning up debris and keeping shrubs and trees trimmed to reduce areas rodents can use as shelter.
  • Eliminating easy food sources by switching to tightly lidded garbage cans and storing all food (including pet food) in airtight containers.
  • Sealing gaps, cracks, and openings around pipes, doors, vents, foundations, and windows.
  • Planting rodent-repelling herbs and flowering plants like mint, lavender, and amaryllis near areas that need protection.

Contact Catseye to Remove and Exclude New England Rodents

Investing in regular pest control and maintenance can restore your peace of mind. Contact us today for a free, detailed inspection to start the process.

The post Common Rodents in Massachusetts appeared first on Catseye Pest Control.

This article appeared first on Catseye Pest

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