Rodents In New Jersey: 9 Common Species

January 3, 2024

New Jersey boasts a diverse array of rodent species, each playing a unique role in the Garden State’s ecosystems. From the industrious squirrels frequenting suburban parks to the elusive deer mice inhabiting wooded areas, these rodents showcase remarkable adaptations and behaviors. This article highlights the 9 most common rodent species in New Jersey, detailing what they look like and where they live. 


House Mice


House mice are small rodents, typically measuring 3 to 4 inches in length, with pointed snouts, rounded ears, and long, hairless tails. They come in various shades of gray or brown, often with a lighter underbelly. House mice thrive in human-made environments, preferring warm, sheltered areas near a constant food source, like homes, buildings, farms, and fields. They adapt well to diverse habitats, nesting in wall voids, attics, and basements, displaying remarkable agility and ability to squeeze through tiny openings.


White-Footed Mice


White-footed mice measure around 3 ¾ to 4 ¼ inches in length, sporting a distinct bi-coloration: reddish-brown upper fur transitioning to white underparts, while their feet exhibit a noticeable white hue. They possess prominent ears and long tails covered in fur. These mice favor wooded areas with dense vegetation, residing in forests, grasslands, and shrubby environments across North America. They seek shelter in tree hollows and brush piles, and nest in burrows or secluded spots near food sources like seeds, nuts, and insects. Their habitat preferences revolve around areas abundant in cover and suitable food.


Deer Mice


Deer mice, resembling house mice, range from 2 ½ to 4 inches long with bi-colored tails, sporting a distinct dark upper coat and white underbelly. Their fur often exhibits variations from pale gray to reddish-brown, with noticeable large eyes and ears. These mice thrive across North America in diverse habitats, favoring wooded areas, grasslands, and brushy terrains. They adapt well to nesting in burrows, tree hollows, or structures, displaying a preference for areas rich in vegetation and shelter. Deer mice commonly inhabit rural spaces, fields, and forest edges, showcasing resilience in various ecosystems and relying on seeds, insects, and plant matter for sustenance.




Squirrels are small to medium-sized rodents, typically 6 to 12 inches long, characterized by bushy tails, sharp claws, and prominent incisors for gnawing. They come in various colors—gray, red, black, or brown—with some displaying patterns or markings. Their agile bodies feature large eyes and ears. Squirrels prefer habitats abundant in trees, woodlands, parks, and suburban areas, where they construct nests, called dreys, in tree branches or hollows. Their versatile nature allows them to thrive in diverse environments, seeking shelter and foods, such as nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetation, while showcasing adept climbing and jumping abilities.




Chipmunks are small, striped rodents measuring 5 to 6 inches long, recognizable by the distinct white or gray stripes running down their backs, along with prominent cheek pouches. They possess short legs and bushy tails. Chipmunks prefer habitats with ample cover like forests, woodlands, gardens, and parks, favoring areas with shrubs, logs, or rocks for hiding spots. They construct intricate burrow systems for shelter, often near food sources like seeds, nuts, berries, and insects. Their adaptable nature allows them to thrive in diverse environments across North America, displaying agility and quick movements.


Roof Rats


Roof rats, also known as “ship rats” or “black rats,” are slender rodents measuring 6 to 8 inches in length. They have sleek bodies, pointed noses, large ears, and long tails longer than their bodies, distinguishing them from other rat species. Their fur ranges from brown to black, with lighter underbellies. These rats prefer warm climates and often inhabit urban and suburban areas, nesting in high places like attics, rafters, trees, and roofs- hence their name. They are adept climbers and thrive near human settlements, seeking shelter and sustenance from a variety of sources including fruits, grains, and human food waste.


Norway Rats


Norway rats, robust rodents measuring 7 to 9 ½ inches long, possess blunt noses, small ears, and scaly tails shorter than their bodies. Their fur ranges from brown to gray, with a lighter underside. These rats prefer burrowing in urban areas, fields, and structures like basements, sewers, and piles of debris. Highly adaptable, they thrive near human activity, seeking shelter and food sources including grains, meats, and garbage. Norway rats exhibit excellent tunneling abilities, nesting underground and displaying a preference for areas with ample hiding spots and close proximity to food and water.




Voles, small rodents measuring 3 to 7 inches long, resemble mice but possess stockier bodies, short tails, rounded ears, and blunt noses. Their fur varies in shades from brown to gray, often with a lighter underside. These creatures prefer grasslands, meadows, and fields with dense vegetation. They construct intricate tunnel systems underground, feeding on roots, seeds, grasses, and bark. Voles thrive in areas with abundant ground cover, showcasing a preference for places rich in vegetation for shelter and sustenance. Their habitat choices are often close to water sources.




Muskrats are medium-sized rodents, measuring about 16 to 25 inches in length, with stocky bodies, thick tails, and webbed hind feet. They possess dense, waterproof fur ranging from brown to black, enabling them to thrive in aquatic habitats. Muskrats prefer wetland environments like marshes, ponds, and slow-moving streams rich in vegetation. They build dome-shaped lodges or burrows near bodies of water, crafting entrances below the waterline. These adept swimmers and herbivores feed on aquatic plants, roots, and cattails. They prefer habitats abundant in aquatic vegetation and shallow water, crucial for their shelter, food, and safety.


If you’ve encountered any of these or other rodents on your New Jersey property, call Twin-Boro today. Our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach is effective against rodents of all kinds, so you can relax knowing your home or business is pest-free and safe from the hazards of rodents. 

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