Think you saw a rat in your house? It can be unnerving to think you have uninvited critters at home with you. Being prepared is the best way to combat a rat problem so here are some facts about them that can help you diagnose your problem, or at least give you an idea of what to look out for and when to give us a call!
Rats will use nearly any means possible to gain access to food, water and harborage. They are good climbers with excellent balance and can use wires, pipes, and even gutters to find entry points into homes. Rats are also very capable swimmers making them right at home along waterways and in sewers. There have even been reports of rats entering homes through toilets. They are most active at night, but can be seen foraging during the day.
The two rats that most commonly infest homes are the Norway rat and the roof rat. Both species can measure nearly a foot from nose to tail as adults. However, the Norway rat is the heavier and larger bodied of the two rodents, averaging nearly one pound fully grown.
Norway rats have a blunt snout, small ears, and their tail is about as long as the combined length of their body and head. Their fur is typically reddish-brown, but can vary in color from mostly grey to dark brown. Norway rats spend much of their time on the ground where they have easy access to garbage or other readily available food sources. They are also known to dig underground burrows that can cause damage to landscape and even undermine the foundation of homes. Indoors, Norway rats will nest in wall voids, attics or other similar spaces found throughout a home.
Roof rats are smaller bodied than Norway rats, averaging closer to one-half pound when fully grown. Their snout and ears are comparatively larger than the Norway rat, and their tail is longer than the combined length of their body and head. Fur color can also vary, but is often dark grey or tan with a lighter belly. Having a slimmer frame, roof rats are better adapted than Norway rats to climbing and living off of the ground. They are often seen traveling along power lines or fence tops, and prefer to nest above ground in dense foliage or attics. Roof rats are also generalist feeders, but prefer fruits and vegetables more than Norway rats.
Keeping Rats Out
Controlling both Norway and Roof rats requires a combination of advanced management strategies tailored to the biology of each pest. First, harborage sites and possible food sources must be eliminated. After completing a detailed inspection of your home, we will identify those likely places on your property where rats are living and feeding and determine how to correct those issues. Once those sites have been addressed, a combination of rat-specific trapping and baiting techniques can be used to quickly and safely eliminate the infestation.