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California Drought Drawing Rodents Into Homes During Breeding Season

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The drought is forcing more rodents to search for water and food in California homes and neighborhoods.

Spring is already a busy time of the year for rats and mice since it's breeding season, but dry conditions are forcing rodents to look for spaces as small as the width of a thumb to get inside homes.

"It's a very busy time especially with the drought situation," said Kevin Carpenter with Good Earth Pest Control.

He says mice and rats need at least an ounce of water a day, so they're targeting homes and backyards that aren't protected.

"They're moving to homes where people might have pets or water features, bird baths, that sort of thing in search of water," he said.

But it doesn't take much to make your home less enticing.

First off, Carpenter recommends trimming any low-hanging trees that hang over your roof.

"Those rodents will climb right up. They're excellent climbers and they will climb right up the trees and drop down on the roof," he said.

Sealing small holes near the foundation is also key to keep them from crawling inside. Also, don't leave pet food and water out all day.

"I would recommend bringing that food and water into the home at night because at night is when rats and rodents forage," he said. "If you remove that, that would discourage them and they would go away."

State wildlife officials agree that prevention is the best way to handle things, rather than poisons that can harm wildlife like owls and hawks that feed on the rodents.

"These wildlife are right around us and you might not notice them but they're actually there. And they're helping control rodent populations and as long as you're able to protect them, they will do that for you," said Stella McMillan.

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