Monthly Archives: December 2014

Do You Smell a Rat?

The weather is getting colder, which means rodents are looking for a cozy place to settle until spring. Mice aren’t the only rodents that can wreak havoc in your home.  Rats are responsible for gnawing wood and electrical wires, spreading disease and eating food in your home. Rats are not only spotted in alleys in big cities, but also in rural and residential homes.  Chances are, you can’t actually smell a rat, but you can learn how to identify if you have rats in your home.

The most common type of rat is the brown rat, also called the Norway rat.  They are larger than mice but to the common eye look like a larger house mouse with a very long tail.  They can measure approximately 10 inches in length with a tail that can also reach up to 10 inches.

Rats are nocturnal, so they do their dirty work when you’re sleeping.  And boy is their work dirty!  Rats are known for spreading disease such as salmonella and Hantavirus – a dangerous respiratory virus. (The black rat was responsible for the deadly spread of the bubonic plague in Europe.) Rat droppings should not be handled unless proper precautions are taken as germs and viruses can become airborne.

How do you know if you have a rat infestation?  Some noises are indicative of rat activity, such as clawing, or gnawing on wood or plastic.  These sounds can reverberate on concrete.  If you have rats in your attic, you might hear scratching, gnawing and clawing sounds as rats try to make a nest.    If you have horses, or other outdoor animals and store their food in a garage, shed or barn, you might notice that bags are being gnawed through or there are droppings around the vicinity of the food.

Like most pests, they are opportunistic.  If you limit opportunities for them to get into your home, you are ahead of the game.  Rats are long animals that are designed to burrow into holes, so they can squeeze through surprisingly small spaces.  Survey your home and seal off small holes around pipes and wires.  Don’t leave piles of firewood close to the perimeter of your home and cut back shrubs.  Rats like clutter, so keep your floors free of clutter piles or seal items in a rodent-proof container with a lid (preferably not cardboard). Inspect your attic for holes in the roof or along the roofline. If you have outdoor animals, store food and treats in rodent-proof containers with lids.

If you think you may have a rat infestation, it is best to let a pest control company with years of experience handle it.  These are dirty rodents and we are trained in containing rat infestations and removing their dirty debris.  Call us at 800-457-3785 for an inspection and to receive more tips on preventing a rat infestation.