Rats are intelligent and resilient rodents that are the cousins of mice, squirrels and chipmunks. A “true rat” like roof rats and Norway rats are in the genus Rattus, although other rodent species are sometimes referred to as rats. These are all part of the superfamily Muroidea.
In nature, some rat species build underground burrows, while others live in trees. These pests will gladly take advantage of your home — seeking shelter in the walls or attic, snacking on food scraps and building nests out of whatever they can find. Rats will eat virtually anything, even each other, but prefer meats and grains. They like nuts, seeds, fruits, berries, insects, snails and earthworms.
Types of Rats
Rats are generally larger than mice, at about 12 to 18 inches long and 4 to 12 ounces. They are usually brown to black in color depending on the species. These critters compensate for poor eyesight with excellent senses of taste, smell and hearing. They live in groups and can reproduce quickly. A female rat usually has between 4 and 6 litters a year. Each litter has between 6 and 12 pups.
Rats In The Home & The Attic
Rats can enter your home through openings as small as a ½ inch wide. Where they settle in your home often depends on the species. Roof rats, which are naturally strong climbers, will get into the attic and other upper levels of the home. Norway rats prefer to burrow and often get into basements, garages and walls. Rats like clutter to hide in and build their nests. They will use any material they can find to build nests including fabric, paper and cardboard. Rats can damage your home from their constant gnawing, contaminate food and expose you and your family to dangerous diseases. These pests can transmit a variety of dangerous bacteria that can cause diseases like Lassa fever, rat-bite fever, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome and the bubonic plague. Rodents like these can also bring fleas, mites and other parasites into your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do rats bite?
Rats have been known to bite people and pets. A rat will bite if it feels threatened or is starving. These bites can be dangerous because the rat can transmit bacteria that can cause diseases like rat-bite fever.
How do I get rid of rats in my walls?
The best way to get rid of rats is to trap and remove the entire rat colony. This ensures that all the rats are gone and prevents the possibility of a dead rat getting stuck in the wall and creating a bad odor. You can protect your home from rats by trimming back trees and bushes around your home where they like to hide. Seal any cracks in your foundation or roofline. Secure garbage can lids so rats aren’t attracted by the food inside. Keep bird feeders far away from the house and keep pet food inside as these can attract rats.
Benefits of Professional Pest Control
Rats are one of the smartest pests that pest management professionals handle, which also makes them the toughest to get rid of. A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary for addressing a rat problem. They use their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the rat infestation.