the collective name for small rodent pests of the families Cricetidae and Muridae. The most common representatives are field mice, field voles, steppe lemmings, hamsters, and gerbils. They do great harm to the national economy, settling on uncultivated lands and cultivated fields.
Mouselike rodents are voracious eaters. The daily intake of those species that feed on the succulent parts of plants constitutes 120–300 percent of the animals’ body weight. Species feeding on seeds consume 30–100 percent of their body weight. The rodents are particularly fertile; some species reproduce year-round. Female field voles have litters averaging between five and seven (sometimes as many as 12) young; they can reproduce every 20 to 30 days. Mouselike rodents rapidly increase in number. During periods of warm weather, the rodents are nocturnal or crepuscular; in cold weather they are active during the day.
During the growing season, mouselike rodents damage all types of crops, particularly grains and perennial grasses. In the winter they eat the shoots of winter crops; gnaw the bark and roots of trees in gardens, nurseries, forests, and windbreaks; and store large quantities of seeds from trees. The rodents destroy hay and valuable forage crops in pastures. When they settle in dwellings, warehouses, and granaries, they ruin the foodstuffs, containers, and the structures themselves. Many of the rodents transmit the causative agents of a variety of infectious and parasitic diseases of man and domestic animals.
REFERENCESPoliakov, I. Ia. Vrednye gryzuny i bor’ba s nimi. 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1968.
Prokhorov, M. I. Mikrobiologicheskii metod bor’by s vrednymi gryzunami. Leningrad, 1962.
I. IA. POLIAKOV