Damage Caused by Rats

While some rodents may be cute to admire in the pet store, the thought of having wild rats scurrying throughout your home can be disturbing. They can destroy our homes by gnawing on and chewing through pipes in search of water. Rodents also destroy wires, cords, water hoses, wooden doors, clothing, furniture, walls and small gardens. In large numbers they can even annihilate fields of crops! In search of food they raid our cabinets and pantries, scurrying over our dinner plates and the food we eat, ultimately contaminating everything they touch. If they get a hold of your trash can, it’s game over. There is sure to be a huge mess to clean up. Here in D.C. and the surrounding areas, we were dubbed #5 in the Nation for having the most rats in city by the Washington Post in 2017. So, if you have a rodent problem in your home, you are not alone. Last year, the D.C. Department of Health’s rodent control division saw 2,000 more reported rat cases than it did the year prior. There are more than 50 different species of rats. To get rid of them it’s important to know what type of rat you have in your home. Two of the most common found in our area are Norway rats and Roof rats. Eagle Pest Services will explain the differences between the two and give some helpful information on how to get them out of your home and avoid them in the future.

 

Where Do Roof Rats (Rattus Rattus) Live & How to Identify Them

Roof rats aka black rats, fruit rats, ship rats or palm rats are the smaller of the two species we are discussing today. They weigh between 5-8 ounces and measure 12-18 inches in length from nose to tip of tail. They are grayish-black in color with yellowish belly areas and smooth fur. This species has a longer tail than the Norway rat, a skinnier body, bigger ears, bigger eyes, and a pointier nose. They have a lifespan of 1-2 years and tend to give birth to 5-8 babies per litter. Unlike other rat species that burrow underground, Roof Rats prefer to be up high, making your walls, cabinets, garages, patios, roof or attics a prime living space for them. In nature, you can find their nests high up in the trees, atop bushes, or even on the top of fence lines. They are excellent climbers! Roof rat’s diets mimic that of squirrels as they prefer fruits, veggies, wheat, corn and nuts, but they won’t turn down a meal if they’re hungry and will eat just about anything they can find. Like most other rat species, these guys are nocturnal and come out to feed just after sunset,

 

Norway Rat (Rattus Norvegicus) Identification

Also known as sewer rats, super rats, common rat, barn rat, brown rat or gray rat. These guys measure 7-18 inches in length and weight 10-16 ounces. Their appearance is much rounder than that of roof rats. They have short blunt noses with smaller ears and large protruding black eyes and their colors vary from pure gray to a reddish brown. Norway rat’s lifespans are 5-12 months and have larger litters of 8-12 pups at a time. They are omnivorous and will eat just about anything. They prefer more protein or carb rich foods like meats, beans, bread, sugar or in some cases other injured rodents. Norway rats prefer to burrow underground and are powerful swimmers. It is not uncommon for us to get reports of Norway rats swimming up and out of toilet bowls which can cause quite a scare! Their nests are usually found below ground in soil, sewers, basements and lower portions of buildings. They are also nocturnal and come out at night to feed.

 

Diseases Caused By Rat Droppings & Signs of an Infestation

Norway rats carry a variety of dangerous diseases including Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome, Leptospirosis, Lyme disease, the dreaded Plague, Rat-bite fever, Salmonellosis and Tularemia to name a few. Ways to identify an infestation are finding chewed wires, seeing gnaw marks in wood, finding shredded paper or trash, holes in clothing, chew marks in food in the pantry, rat droppings or hearing noises coming from your walls and attics. Both Norway and Roof Rats live in colonies of up to 40 or more rats at a time, so you will know when they are on the move.

 

Rodent Inspection & Control

Eagle Pest Services can identify and solve any of your rodent problems. Rodent season is quickly coming upon us. Give us a call to perform a rodent inspection for your home or business today!