Rats can be a major nuisance if they infiltrate your home. They can fit through unbelievably small gaps and live in attics, basements, walls, cabinets and any unsealed part of your house. Once inside, these small rodents can create big problems by chewing on wiring, destroying insulation and potentially exposing your family to dangerous diseases.
In the West South Central region of the United States, the two most common rat species are Roof rats and Norway rats. The two species look very similar to an untrained eye, but they do have different identifying characteristics.
Norway rats can grow up to 10 inches long, with tails that are shorter than the length of their bodies. They have bristly brown fur and light underbellies. Roof rats measure about 8 inches in length and have much longer tails. Their fur is black with lighter underbellies.
While you might expect to hear chirps and squeaks coming from these rodents, rats actually communicate at a pitch humans can’t hear. Instead, you are more likely to hear them skittering around and gnawing on things in your home.
Both species of local rats are omnivores that will quickly adapt to whatever food is available to them. Roof rats typically prefer fruits and nuts, while Norway rats favor grains and cereal.
Most species of rats are nocturnal animals, which means they are most active at night. This helps them travel through the house and find food without being detected.
Roof rats prefer the high ground. In nature, they hunt for food and shelter by climbing across utility lines, branches and roofs. Norway rats dig and stay closer to the ground.
Both Norway and Roof rats are prolific breeders. They reproduce year-round and can quickly infest your home with their offspring. Norway rats reach maturity and begin reproducing at 5 weeks old. A single female Norway rat can produce an average of 100 babies in a year. Roof rats take longer to reach maturity and don’t start reproducing until they reach 12 weeks, but they can still produce as many as 80 babies in a year.
If you suspect you may have rats in your attic, you’ll want to act fast to begin removing them and rat-proofing your home. Rats are carriers for more than 35 diseases, including salmonellosis, murine typhus and even the bubonic plague.
Keep an eye out for the following signs that may indicate an infestation of rats:
- Skittering sounds at night: Nocturnal rats will primarily move around and make noises at night. You may hear them in the attic above your ceiling or in the walls of your home.
- Tip: Wondering whether you have squirrels or rats in your attic? The time of day you hear activity in your home is key in identifying the nuisance wildlife.
- Droppings in the house: Rats excrete feces as they move around. You’ll find small, cylindrical droppings throughout your home.
- Chewed items in attics and kitchens: The rats will chew on everything from electrical wires and drywall to food items in your kitchen. They’ll also shred insulation and materials they want to use for nests.
- Brown grease: Rats’ oily fur will leave greasy dark marks along the edges of entry points and in areas where they travel frequently.
- Sounds in your walls: If you think you hear rats in your walls, knock and listen. If the sound stops immediately, then resumes a few minutes later, you may have rats.
Contact Urban Jungle for Rat Removal Services
At Urban Jungle, we employ educated wildlife biologists who know how to identify your rat infestation and help with trapping and removal services. We will not rest until your home is free of rodents.